Researchers identify microRNA that shows promise for hair regrowth

July 27, 2020

Researchers from North Carolina State University have identified a microRNA (miRNA) that could promote hair regeneration. This miRNA - miR-218-5p - plays an important role in regulating the pathway involved in follicle regeneration, and could be a candidate for future drug development.

Hair growth depends on the health of dermal papillae (DP) cells, which regulate the hair follicle growth cycle. Current treatments for hair loss can be costly and ineffective, ranging from invasive surgery to chemical treatments that don't produce the desired result. Recent hair loss research indicates that hair follicles don't disappear where balding occurs, they just shrink. If DP cells could be replenished at those sites, the thinking goes, then the follicles might recover.A research team led by Ke Cheng, Randall B. Terry, Jr. Distinguished Professor in Regenerative Medicine at NC State's College of Veterinary Medicine and professor in the NC State/UNC Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, cultured DP cells both alone (2D) and in a 3D spheroid environment. A spheroid is a three-dimensional cellular structure that effectively recreates a cell's natural microenvironment.In a mouse model of hair regeneration, Cheng looked at how quickly hair regrew on mice treated with 2D cultured DP cells, 3D spheroid-cultured DP cells in a keratin scaffolding, and the commercial hair loss treatment Minoxidil. In a 20-day trial, mice treated with the 3D DP cells had regained 90% of hair coverage at 15 days.

"The 3D cells in a keratin scaffold performed best, as the spheroid mimics the hair microenvironment and the keratin scaffold acts as an anchor to keep them at the site where they are needed," Cheng says. "But we were also interested in how DP cells regulate the follicle growth process, so we looked at the exosomes, specifically, exosomal miRNAs from that microenvironment." Exosomes are tiny sacs secreted by cells that play an important role in cell to cell communication. Those sacs contain miRNAs.

MiRNAs are small molecules that regulate gene expression. Cheng and his team measured miRNAs in exosomes derived from both 3D and 2D DP cells. In the 3D DP cell-derived exosomes, they pinpointed miR-218-5p, a miRNA that enhances the molecular pathway responsible for promoting hair follicle growth. They found that increasing miR-218-5p promoted hair follicle growth, while inhibiting it caused the follicles to lose function.

"Cell therapy with the 3D cells could be an effective treatment for baldness, but you have to grow, expand, preserve and inject those cells into the area," Cheng says. "MiRNAs, on the other hand, can be utilized in small molecule-based drugs. So potentially you could create a cream or lotion that has a similar effect with many fewer problems. Future studies will focus on using just this miRNA to promote hair growth."
-end-
The research appears in Science Advances, and was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association. Cheng is corresponding author. Postdoctoral researcher Shiqi Hu is first author.

North Carolina State University

Related Microrna Articles from Brightsurf:

Researchers identify microRNA that shows promise for hair regrowth
Researchers from North Carolina State University have identified a microRNA (miRNA) that could promote hair regeneration.

Atherosclerosis -- How a microRNA protects vascular integrity
Ludwig-Maximilian-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich researchers have discovered a hitherto unknown molecular function of a specific microRNA that preserves integrity of the endothelium and reduces the risk of atherosclerosis.

MicroRNA exhibit unexpected function in driving cancer
New research shows that both strands of microRNA cooperate to drive growth and aggressiveness across cancer types, suggesting that these molecules may be more central in deadly cancers than previously thought.

Investigators narrow in on a microRNA for treating multiple sclerosis
Investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital have discovered a microRNA -- a small RNA molecule -- that increases during peak disease in a mouse model of MS and in untreated MS patients.

MicroRNA comprehensively analyzed
Messenger RNA transmits genetic information to the proteins, and microRNA plays a key role in the regulation of gene expression.

Novel strategy using microRNA biomarkers can distinguish melanomas from nevi
Melanoma is the least common but one of the most deadly skin cancers.

Methylation of microRNA may be a new powerful biomarker for cancer
Researchers from Osaka University found that levels of methylated microRNA were significantly higher in tissue and serum from cancer patients compared with that from normal controls.

New insight into microRNA function can give gene therapy a boost
Scientists at the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Oxford have shown that small RNA molecules occurring naturally in cells, i.e. microRNAs, are also abundant in cell nuclei.

Researchers unlock mysteries of complex microRNA oncogenes
A new collaborative study, led by researchers at McGill University's Goodman Cancer Research Centre (GCRC), and published in the journal Molecular Cell, uncovers novel functions for polycistronic microRNAs and showing how cancers such as lymphoma twist these functions to reorganize the information networks that control gene expression.

MicroRNA-like RNAs contribute to the lifestyle transition of Arthrobotrys oligospora
Lifestyle transition is a fundamental mechanism that fungi have evolved to survive and proliferate in different environments.

Read More: Microrna News and Microrna Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.