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T-flavanone and hair loss


trans-3,4’-Dimethyl-3-hydroxyflavanone, a hair growth enhancing active component, decreases active transforming growth factor beta2 (TGF-beta2) through control of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) on the surface of keratinocytes.

Biol Pharm Bull. 2008 Mar;31(3):449-53

trans-3,4’-Dimethyl-3-hydroxyflavanone (t-flavanone) is a synthetic compound with hair growth enhancing activity that is effective against male pattern alopecia. t-Flavanone was designed as a derivative of astilbin, the active hair growth enhancing component of Hypericum perforatum extracts.

This study was designed to elucidate the mechanism of hair growth enhancement by t-flavanone. We investigated the effects of t-flavanone on transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta), a known catagen-inducing factor induced in hair papilla cells by male hormone. When t-flavanone was added to cocultures of human hair papilla cells and human keratinocytes, there was no change in the total level of TGF-beta2.

However, levels of active TGF-beta2 were reduced, suggesting the involvement of t-flavanone in the activation pathway of TGF-beta2. In order to investigate the effects of t-flavanone on TGF-beta2 activation by human keratinocytes, we evaluated the level of active TGF-beta2 converted from the inactive form in t-flavanone-treated human keratinocytes.

The amount of active TGF-beta2 was reduced compared with controls suggesting that t-flavanone suppresses the TGF-beta2 activation cascade in human keratinocytes. We then examined the activity of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA), the rate-limiting enzyme in the TGF-beta2 activation cascade, in t-flavanone-treated human keratinocytes.

We found that t-flavanone reduces uPA activity on the keratinocyte surface. t-Flavanone is a hair growth enhancing component that has a novel mechanism of action which suppresses TGF-beta2 activation, and thereby is expected to have therapeutic effects on other types of alopecia in addition to male pattern alopecia.