- New findings unveiled around 63 alterations in human genome that are linked to premature hair loss/baldness.
- A few of these alterations in the human genome were also found in connection with other physical traits and illnesses, such as reduced body size, earlier occurrence of puberty and various cancers.
- This indicates that premature hair loss is not an isolated trait and that it shares some common substantial biological and physical traits.
Short men may have an increased risk of becoming bald prematurely.
The international genetic study was conducted under the leadership of the University of Bonn at least points in this direction.
‘Premature hair loss could be used as an early prognostic marker for prostate cancer, sudden cardiac arrest and neurodegenerative disorders.’
The scientists investigated the genetic material of more than 20,000 men and revealed that premature hair loss is not an isolated characteristic and is linked to a range of various physical characteristics and illnesses.
It has known that men with premature hair loss have increased risk of suffering from heart diseases and prostate cancer somewhat more often.
The new genetic data confirm suspicions that there are further connections to other characteristics and illnesses.
In their study, the researchers analyzed genetic data from participants came from seven different countries.
Study recruited around 11,000 men with premature baldness and 12,000 men with no hair loss served as a control.
"We were thus able to identify 63 alterations in the human genome that increase the risk of premature hair loss," explains Dr. Stefanie Heilmann-Heimbach, human geneticist at the University of Bonn and one of the lead authors of the international study.
"Some of these alterations were also found in connection with other characteristics and illnesses, such as reduced body size, earlier occurrence of puberty and various cancers." Heilmann-Heimbach added.
The results if the genetic findings confirm the link between premature hair loss and an increased risk of prostate cancer.
"We have also found links to light skin color and increased bone density," explains Prof. Markus Nöthen, Director of the Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Bonn. "These could indicate that men with hair loss are better able to use sunlight to synthesize vitamin D. They could also explain why white men in particular lose their hair prematurely."
Thus the study offers new insights into the biological causes of hair loss by identifying the genes involved. In addition the cells of the hair follicle, immune and fat cells in the scalp are also involved in hair loss.
"However, men with premature hair loss do not need to be concerned," reassured Prof. Nöthen. "The risks of illness are only increased slightly. It is, however, exciting to see that hair loss is by no means an isolated characteristic, but instead displays various relationships with other characteristics."
The future research aims to analyze the molecular mechanisms underlying the links between premature hair loss and other illnesses the signal paths involved.
The work is published in Nature Communications
- Stefanie Heilmann-Heimbach et al. Meta-analysis identifies novel risk loci and yields systematic insights into the biology of male-pattern baldness. in Nature Communications ; (2017) doi:10.1038/ncomms14694