American scientists have been successful in pinpointing a protein called prostaglandin D synthase (PGD2) that triggers hair loss in men. This discovery raises the prospect of a treatment to stop or even reverse thinning hair.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found that the levels of prostaglandin D synthase are elevated in the cells of hair follicles located in bald patches on the scalp, but not in hairy areas.
Lead researcher, Prof. George Cotsarelis said: "Essentially we showed that prostaglandin protein was elevated in the bald scalp of men and that it inhibited hair growth. So we identified a target for treating male-pattern baldness. The next step would be to screen for compounds that affect this receptor and to also find out whether blocking that receptor would reverse balding or just prevent balding - a question that would take a while to figure out."
The study is reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine.