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Am. J. Biomed. Sci. 2015, 7(2), 105-124; doi: 10.5099/aj150200105
Received: 15 March 2015; | Revised: 25 May 2015; | Accepted: 1 June 2015


The involvement of androgens in human hair growth


Saeed A. Alwaleedi*

Biology Department, Faculty of Science, Taif University (TU), Taif, Saudi Arabia

*Corresponding author

Saeed Alwaleedi

Biology Department

Faculty of Science

Taif University (TU)

Taif, Saudi Arabia

E-mail:  swaleedi@hotmail.com



Androgens are an important regulator of human hair growth. Human hair follicles in various sites of the body have a variable individual, inherited susceptibility for androgen dependent growth. Androgens regulate the type of hair produced in human follicles, which can cause psychological distress in cases of excess large hairs, e.g. in hirsutism, male hair distribution in women, or reduced visible hairs, e.g. in androgenetic alopecia, male pattern baldness. These disorders are poorly controlled and cannot currently be effectively treated, mainly due to our lack of understanding of hair follicle function. The molecular mechanisms of the androgen action in human hair follicles are not well understood. Changes in hair follicle and hair size are believed to involve signalling between the hair follicle components via paracrine factors. It is believed that androgens exert their effects on hair follicles via the mesenchyme-derived dermal papilla cells by altering the regulatory paracrine factors produced by the dermal papilla itself and affect the other follicular components. Identifying key paracrine factors which may be involved in androgen regulated changes in the hair follicles could improve our understanding of the mechanism of androgen action in human hair follicles. Better understanding of this mechanism and the structure, functions of hair follicles should lead to better treatment for hair disorders such as hirsutism and androgenetic alopecia.

Keywords: Hair follicles, androgens, androgenetic alopecia, hirsutism, paracrine factors.

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