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A prostaglandin F2? analogue, bimatoprost, used for glaucoma stimulates scalp hair follicle growth in organ culture; is this a new approach for alopecia therapy?
Mr Karzan Khidhir, Centre for Skin Sciences, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK, United Kingdom
Dr Nilofer Farjo, Farjo Medical Centre, Manchester, UK, United Kingdom
Dr Bessam Farjo, Farjo Medical Centre, Manchester, UK, United Kingdom
Dr David Woodward, Allergan Inc, Irvine, Clifornia, United States
Dr Steven Picksley, Centre for Skin Sciences, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK, United Kingdom
Professor Valerie Randall, Centre for Skin Sciences, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK, United Kingdom
Prostaglandin F2? (PGF2?) analogues, e.g. bimatoprost, stimulate eyelash growth as a side-effect when used to treat ocular hypertension (glaucoma). This phenomenon resembles the unwanted hair promoted by an antihypertensive drug, minoxidil, now widely-used for balding. How bimatoprost acts is unknown; possibilities include direct action on eyelash follicles or stimulating follicular blood flow. To determine whether scalp hair follicles can respond directly to bimatoprost and to check whether the effect is through follicular receptors, human scalp follicles were cultured with bimatoprost or PGF2?; gene and protein expression for the PGF2? receptor (FP) were also investigated using molecular biological and immunohistological approaches.
Scalp skin from non-balding areas was obtained from healthy individuals undergoing elective cosmetic surgery with appropriate approval. Hair follicles were individually microdissected and cultured for 9 days with daily examination, photography and measurement or pooled for each person for reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) using primers for the human FP gene. Hair follicle cryosections were also incubated with antibodies to FP.
Both bimatoprost & PGF 2? at 10 nM, 100 nM & 1µM significantly stimulated the hair follicle growth rate, percentage of growing follicles, and overall amount of hair produced (n=5; P<0.05-0.01). RT-PCR identified FP gene expression in 5 individual’s follicles; sequencing confirmed gene identity. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated FP protein in dermal papillae and connective tissue sheaths of follicles from 5 different individuals. Therefore, isolated human scalp hair follicles respond biologically to PGF2? and bimatoprost in organ culture and express both the gene and protein for the receptor, FP. Thus, bimatoprost can act on receptors within human scalp hair follicles to stimulate growth. These results also suggest that PGF2? and prostamides may play a role in normal hair growth. Bimatoprost and related drugs appear to offer an exciting novel approach for the treatment of alopecia and their action merits further investigation.