- A newly developed anti-stress hormone may be a secret weapon in the fight against hair loss.
- The treatment not only helped bald mice regrow hair, but prevented young mice from losing it in the first place.
- The therapy was accidentally discovered during a study of a new treatment for gastrointestinal disease.
A study investigating a new treatment for gastrointestinal disease had an unexpected side effect: It reversed baldness.
Scientists were testing a new chemical compound on mice genetically altered to overproduce a stress hormone known as corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF), which, among other effects, causes mice to lose their hair as they age.
After five days of daily injections of a newly developed anti-stress hormone, the balding mice were returned to their habitats. Three months later researchers went to gather up the mice for follow-up studies, but their hair-less subjects were gone.
"It was completely unexpected," Jean Rivier, with the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., told Discovery News. "They couldn't identify the mice except for their ear tags. That's when they realized that they'd grown hair."