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Evaluating hair growth promoting effects of candidate substance: A review of research methods

Jungyoon Ohn, Kyu Han Kim, Ohsang Kwon
Journal of Dermatological Science 2019 March 12
Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is the most common form of hair loss disorder. As the prevalence of AGA rises, the demand for AGA treatments is rising accordingly, prompting research to identify therapeutic candidates to treat AGA. Because AGA is caused by crosstalk among multiple hair follicle (HF) cell components, understanding the effects of candidate molecules on HF cells is essential to determining therapeutic candidates for treatment. To date, research has centered on HF dermal papilla and outer root sheath cells and has indicated that the hair growth effects of candidate substances may be mediated via alterations in several signaling pathways and signature genes in these HF cells. In more integrative evaluations, the HF unit is used as an ex vivo organ culture model to verify the effects of therapeutic candidates. Animal models have also been used to evaluate the effects of candidate substances. The main outcomes used to evaluate the effects of candidate substances are 1) changes in HF growth rates in vitro, 2) anagen induction capabilities, and 3) the effects of androgen modulation. This article reviews a series of methods used to evaluate the hair growth-promoting effects of candidate substances, providing an overview of cell assays, organs, and animal models used in AGA research in order to facilitate AGA research moving forward.


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