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Assessment of tissue levels of dickkopf-1 in androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata.

BACKGROUND: Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is the commonest form of hair loss in men. Alopecia areata (AA) is an organ-specific autoimmune disease. Studies revealed that Dickkopf 1 (DKK-1), a powerful suppressor of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, induced anagen-to-catagen transition in mice. Moreover, in vitro studies suggested that DKK-1 played a role in dihydrotestosterone (DHT)-induced balding.

AIM: To evaluate the tissue levels of DKK-1 in patients with AGA and AA, to assess its possible role as a pathogenetic mechanism in both disorders.

METHODS: This study included 24 patients with AGA, 31 patients with AA, and 33 healthy controls. Scalp biopsies were taken from all participants for the detection of tissue DKK-1 levels.

RESULTS: Tissue DKK-1 levels were significantly higher in patients with AGA than in controls (P = 0.000) as well as in patients with AA than in controls (P = 0.001). In addition, they were significantly higher in patients with AGA than in patients with AA (P = 0.000). DKK-1 was higher in male than in female patients with AGA. DKK-1 was negatively correlated with disease duration in AGA.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, this study suggests an important role for DKK-1 in the pathogenesis of AGA and AA through documenting higher tissue DKK-1 levels in patients with both hair disorders compared to controls and suggests that DKK-1 may be a promising therapeutic target for these hair diseases.

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