Baldness Breakthrough: microRNA Stimulates Hair Growth in Aging Follicles

Hair Growth

Northwestern Medicine scientists found that the stiffness of aging hair follicle stem cells hinders hair growth. They discovered that softening these cells using a tiny RNA, miR-205, stimulates hair growth in mice. Future experiments will test whether topically delivered miR-205 can promote hair growth potentially in humans.

Softening stiff hair follicle stem cells with a microRNA regrows hair.

  • Regulating cell mechanics stimulates hair growth in mice
  • Next step will be testing if delivering microRNA via nanoparticles grows hair
  • Potential for human hair growth

Just as people’s joints can get stiff as they age and make it harder for them to move around, hair follicle stem cells also get stiff, making it harder for them to grow hair, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.

But if the hair follicle’s stem cells are softened, they are more likely to produce hair, the scientists found.

Northwestern scientists discovered how to soften up those stem cells to enable them to grow hair again. In a study in mice published recently in the journal PNAS, the investigators report that they can soften the stem cells by boosting the production of a tiny RNA, miR-205, that relaxes the hardness of the cells. When scientists genetically manipulated the stem cells to produce more miR-205, it promoted hair growth in young and old mice. 

“They started to grow hair in 10 days,” said corresponding author Rui Yi, the Paul E. Steiner Research Professor of Pathology and professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “These are not new stem cells being generated. We are stimulating the existing stem cells to grow hair. A lot of times we still have stem cells, but they may not be able to generate the hair.

“Our study demonstrates the possibility of stimulating hair growth by regulating cell mechanics. Because of the potential to deliver microRNA by nanoparticles directly into the skin, next we will test whether topically delivered miR-205 can stimulate hair growth first in mice. If successful, we will design experiments to test whether this microRNA can promote hair growth potentially in humans.”

This study was conducted in genetically engineered mouse models. The scientists used advanced microscopy tools, including atomic force microscopy, to measure the stiffness and two-photon microscopy to monitor cell behaviors in live animals.

Reference: “MicroRNA-205 promotes hair regeneration by modulating mechanical properties of hair follicle stem cells” by Jingjing Wang, Yuheng Fu, Wenmao Huang, Ritusree Biswas, Avinanda Banerjee, Joshua A. Broussard, Zhihai Zhao, Dongmei Wang, Glen Bjerke, Srikala Raghavan, Jie Yan, Kathleen J. Green and Rui Yi, 22 May 2023, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2220635120

Other Northwestern authors include Jingjing Wang, Yuheng Fu, and Kathleen Green.

This study was funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases grants AR066703, AR071435, AR043380, AR041836, and P30AR075049 of the National Institutes of Health.

13 Comments on "Baldness Breakthrough: microRNA Stimulates Hair Growth in Aging Follicles"

  1. GLORIA LOOPER | June 9, 2023 at 1:04 pm | Reply

    So there is hope for me I am 73 yrs old totally bald exactly like Benjamin Franklin.

  2. Nasimolo .Leo Wakwabubi | June 10, 2023 at 5:30 am | Reply

    If one wants his hair grow again after developing baldness,what does he need to overcome this and how long does it last without again having same occurrence.

    And how much it costs ?

  3. Pissed off bald guy | June 11, 2023 at 1:26 pm | Reply

    So they show a guy with a full head of shortly cut hair “regrow” his hair. Ok. Whatever.

  4. It’s a bad choice for a visual aid seeing as how it hasn’t been tested on humans yet but, obviously, it’s because they haven’t tested it on humans yet. Didn’t you read the article you’re commenting on?

  5. Ronald Russell SR | June 12, 2023 at 6:51 am | Reply

    I would like more information on any products or procedures that help men with baldness

  6. Hairyballsforsure | June 13, 2023 at 1:06 am | Reply

    Same thing happens when you push a turd out real hard…

  7. Think about it, I haven't | June 13, 2023 at 5:19 am | Reply

    why are we testing it on mice? They are physiologically different. This isn’t even available for humans so why publish it? what about head injury follicles Or follicles that have been damaged by surgery? Can’t grow that back. I’d rather be bald than regrow grey hair. In my case silver. I blame the sugar industry!

  8. Im m2f 44 year old was bold at 28 started hrt my 2013 surgery 2018.
    I use finasteride estradiol17valerat divigel and spironololactone, wich made my hair perfect, as i was 16

  9. Elamarie Tengwan | June 13, 2023 at 1:04 pm | Reply

    My hair just won’t grow since I was a child and if it grow it broke off an makes holes here and there can u please help me

  10. Who cares I’ve never had a woman ask me for more hair

  11. BS. Mice !!

  12. Would like to join the study

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