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Hair loss is typically dealt with by using cosmetic products. It is an inconvenient occurrence that generally comes with aging and can be explained by the reduced division of cells located at the end of each strand of hair, known as hair follicles. Your immune system deals with infections by producing macrophages from white blood cells called monocytes. Macrophages basically “eat” invading pathogens, like bacteria, in order to prevent infections from occurring. What if I told you that macrophages are also involved in promoting hair growth? Based on the given information on macrophages, it does not seem logical for such a relationship to exist. However, researchers have recently made this striking discovery by chance.

 Man experiencing hair loss.

Image source: H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock

Researchers found that in addition to their roles in the immune system, macrophages are also involved in activating hair follicle stem cells in non-inflamed skin. The investigation of this unusual role of macrophages resulted from the observation that mice given anti-inflammatory drugs grew more hair. It has been known that macrophages play an important role in the process of inflammation; as a result, a possible explanation for the mice growing more hair was the relationship between immune cells and stem cells. After experimenting with different types of cells in the immune system, the researchers determined that macrophage-secreted factors activated dormant stem cells, resulting in hair growth.

The results of this research suggests that people facing hair loss could have their problem fixed naturally without needing a hair transplant. The discovery of this unusual role of macrophages may serve as a precedent for future research in the manipulation of stem cells in order to regenerate tissues.
Feature Image Source: my hair is getting so long by emily mucha

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