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Scientists reverse hair loss as a result of male and female pattern baldness

[July 9, 2023: Staff Writer, The Brighter Side of News]

The issue of hair loss is widespread and can cause considerable distress for those who suffer from it. (CREDIT: Creative Commons)

Scientists working in the field of nanotechnology have developed a prototype microneedle patch embedded with cerium nanoparticles, potentially offering a solution to hair loss caused by oxidative stress and poor blood circulation. Initial trials of this innovative approach on mice demonstrated encouraging results, with hair regrowth occurring at a faster rate than a popular existing treatment.

The issue of hair loss is widespread and can cause considerable distress for those who suffer from it. Despite some people embracing the notion that baldness represents a new form of attractiveness, hair loss remains a significant concern for many.


An array of over-the-counter remedies is available, but most of them do not address the primary causes: oxidative stress and insufficient circulation. This new breakthrough could potentially provide a solution for individuals with the most common hair loss condition, androgenic alopecia, also known as male or female pattern baldness.

The research was conducted by Fangyuan Li, Jianqing Gao, and colleagues, and was reported in ACS Nano. The researchers focused on androgenic alopecia, which is permanent hair loss caused by a lack of blood vessels surrounding hair follicles, resulting in inadequate delivery of essential nutrients, cytokines, and other molecules. In addition, reactive oxygen species can accumulate in the scalp, which triggers the untimely death of the cells that form and grow new hair.


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The researchers determined that cerium-containing nanoparticles can mimic enzymes that remove excess reactive oxygen species, which reduced oxidative stress in liver injuries, wounds, and Alzheimer’s disease.

However, these nanoparticles cannot cross the outermost layer of skin. Thus, the researchers wanted to design a minimally invasive way to deliver cerium-containing nanoparticles near hair roots deep under the skin to promote hair regrowth.


The first step in designing this new method was to coat cerium nanoparticles with a biodegradable polyethylene glycol-lipid compound. The researchers then created the dissolvable microneedle patch by pouring a mixture of hyaluronic acid, which is naturally abundant in human skin, and cerium-containing nanoparticles into a mold.

Abstract: The dysregulation of the hair follicle niche induced by excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) and insufficient vascularization in the perifollicular microenvironment is the leading cause of AGA. (CREDIT: ACS Publications)

The team tested control patches and the cerium-containing ones on male mice with bald spots formed by a hair removal cream. Both applications stimulated the formation of new blood vessels around the mice's hair follicles.


However, those treated with the nanoparticle patch showed faster signs of hair undergoing a transition in the root, such as earlier skin pigmentation and higher levels of a compound found only at the onset of new hair development.

Preparation process of a dissolvable and detachable MNspatch. First, 0.05 mL of hyaluronic acid (HA) solution containing CeNZs was deposited on the PDMS micromold. The PDMS micromoldwas centrifugedat 4000 rpm for 5 min to force the mixture into the needle voids, followed by theremoval of the excessive solution outside the cavities viaa plastic scraper. The PDMS micromold containing CeNZs/HA solutionwaskept in a desiccator at room temperature for 2h. Then,0.05 mL of polyvinylpyrrolidoneK90 (PVP K90) solution was added onto the micromold. The PDMS micromold wascentrifugedat4000 rpm for 3 min to form the backing layer and was driedat room temperature. Finally, the Ce-MNs patch was detached from the PDMS micromold after complete desiccation. (CREDIT: ACS Publications)

These mice also had fewer oxidative stress compounds in their skin. Finally, the researchers found that the cerium-containing microneedle patches resulted in faster mouse hair regrowth with similar coverage, density, and diameter compared with a leading topical treatment and could be applied less frequently.


The researchers suggest that microneedle patches that introduce cerium nanoparticles into the skin are a promising strategy to reverse balding for androgenetic alopecia patients. However, the study was only conducted on mice, and further research is needed to determine whether it can be effective in humans.

Ceria Nanozyme-Integrated Microneedles Reshape the Perifollicular Microenvironment for Androgenetic Alopecia Treatment. (CREDIT: ACS Publications)

Male or female pattern baldness affects up to 50% of men and women worldwide. While hair loss is more commonly associated with men, women also experience hair loss, although it tends to be less noticeable. Hair loss can be caused by various factors, including hormonal changes, hereditary factors, medical conditions, and medication.


Currently, the most common treatments for hair loss are over-the-counter remedies, prescription medication, and hair transplant surgery. However, these treatments can be expensive and have side effects, such as scalp irritation, itching, and sexual dysfunction. Moreover, they do not address the root cause of hair loss, which is oxidative stress and insufficient circulation.

The microneedle patch containing cerium nanoparticles could potentially be a non-invasive and effective treatment for hair loss, addressing the primary causes of oxidative stress and insufficient circulation.

This treatment could be more convenient and less burdensome than current topical treatments, and may offer hope for those who suffer from androgenic alopecia. In addition, the microneedle patches could potentially deliver cerium nanoparticles more efficiently to the hair roots, resulting in faster and more effective hair regrowth.

The researchers caution that further studies are needed to confirm the safety and effectiveness of cerium-containing microneedle patches in humans. However, the results of this study suggest that this approach could be a promising new treatment option for those suffering from androgenic alopecia.

The researchers are hopeful that their work will lead to the development of a safe and effective hair loss treatment that could improve the quality of life for millions of people worldwide.


The authors acknowledge funding from the Ten-thousand Talents Program of Zhejiang Province, National Key R&D Program of China and National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Additional funding was provided by One Belt and One Road International Cooperation Project from the Key Research and Development Program of Zhejiang Province, Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities and Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China.

For more science news stories check out our New Innovations section at The Brighter Side of News.


Note: Materials provided above by The Brighter Side of News. Content may be edited for style and length.


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