Obesity has been linked to hair thinning, according to new research. The study’s findings were published in the journal “Nature.” They discovered that hair follicle stem cells in mice fed a high-fat diet reacted differently than those in mice fed a regular diet.

These changes were caused by inflammatory signals in the stem cells, which eventually resulted in hair thinning and loss. These intriguing findings illuminate the complex relationship between obesity and organ failure. Obesity has long been connected to the development of a variety of ailments in people. Obese people are more likely to get heart disease, diabetes, and other illnesses. However, it’s not totally apparent how body organs precisely degenerate and lose functionality from chronic obesity.

A group of researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) employed mice model experiments to investigate how a high-fat diet or genetically induced obesity affects hair thinning and loss in a recent study. Obesity, the scientists discovered, can cause the depletion of hair follicle stem cells (HFSCs) by inducing particular inflammatory signals, preventing hair follicle regeneration and eventually resulting in hair follicle loss.

HFSCs normally self-renew at the end of each hair follicle cycle. This is a part of the mechanism that allows our hair to regrow indefinitely. HFSCs fail to renew themselves as humans age, resulting in fewer HFSCs and, as a result, hair thinning. Although overweight people are more likely to develop androgenic alopecia, it is unclear if obesity promotes hair thinning and, if so, how and what the molecular mechanisms are.

The TMDU group set out to answer such questions and discovered some of the mechanisms in the process. “Hair loss is accelerated by high-fat diet feeding, which depletes HFSCs, which replenish mature cells that create hair, especially in older animals. We examined gene expression in HFSCs from HFD-fed mice to conventional diet-fed animals, as well as the fate of those HFSCs once they were activated “Hironobu Morinaga, the study’s principal author, stated.

“We discovered that when HFSCs in HFD-fed obese mice are activated, they transform into skin surface corneocytes or sebocytes that release sebum. HFSCs are depleted in such mice, resulting in quicker hair loss and smaller hair follicles. Even after four days of HFD feeding, HFSCs show evidence of epidermal differentiation and enhanced oxidative stress “Morinaga continued.

“The stimulation of inflammatory cytokine signalling within HFSCs was revealed by gene expression in HFSCs from high-fat-fed animals. Sonic hedgehog signalling, which is important for hair follicle regeneration in HFSCs, is repressed by inflammatory signals in HFSCs “Emi K. Nishimura, a senior author, characterised the situation.

The activation of the Sonic hedgehog signalling pathway in this process can recover the depletion of HFSCs, according to the researchers.

“This could prevent hair loss caused by a high-fat diet,” Nishimura added.

This research has revealed new information about the specific cellular fate changes and tissue dysfunction that can occur as a result of a high-fat diet or genetically induced obesity, and it could pave the way for future hair thinning prevention and treatment, as well as a better understanding of obesity-related diseases.

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