Past hair loss research has concluded that Dickkopf 1 (DKK-1) inhibition promotes scalp hair growth. Dickkopf-related protein 1 is encoded by the DKK1 gene. The latter is the most up-regulated gene in androgenetic alopecia,
A South Korean team of researchers has written a number of papers for more than a decade on the connection between DKK-1 and hair loss. Their well known 2008 findings concluded that DHT-inducible DKK-1 is involved in DHT-driven balding. Their 2012 paper was titled Dickkopf 1 promotes regression of hair follicles.
More recently, a 2016 paper from Egypt found that levels of DKK-1 were higher than normal in humans with both androgenetic alopecia (AGA) and alopecia areata (AA) types of hair loss. It was also higher in AGA cases versus AA cases. DKK-1 was higher in males with AGA compared to females with AGA. Another 2019 paper from Egypt also reached similar conclusions.
A famous 2013 study from University of Pennsylvania found that by disrupting Wnt signaling in an animal model using the DKK-1 inhibitor, hair growth was prevented. However, stem cells were still maintained within the dormant hair follicles. When DKK-1 was subsequently removed, the Wnt/β-catenin pathway resumed normal function. i.e., stem cells reactivated and hair growth was restored. More here.
Interestingly, three of the co-authors of the above paper are also listed as co-inventors on a patent related to using DKK1 to reduce body hair growth.
New DKK-1 Hair Growth Patent
The reason I decided to write this post is due to a new DKK-1 related patent that was recently granted to a South Korean company called Bioneer (h/t reader “Andre”). On Bioneer’s website, I do not currently see anything related to hair loss products or research.
The patent has many pages with a lot of great information. My favorite sentence (with slight grammar modification) regarding the invention:
“A double-stranded oligonucleotide construct or the nanoparticle as an active ingredient according to the present invention. It highly efficiently suppresses the expression of DKK1, without side effects. And it is remarkably effective for preventing hair loss and promoting hair growth.”
There is significant interest in the treatment of hair loss via countering or inhibiting DKK-1. Studies have looked at existing natural (e.g., ginseng extract) and synthetic products.
Which brings me to my past post on creating the ultimate hair loss drug cocktail. The reader who sent me the lengthy and detailed spreadsheet that I pasted in that post had the following suggestions for inhibiting DKK-1:
- Vitamin D3.
I have not done much research on this subject, so perhaps the knowledgeable readers can verify if the above makes sense.
Forum threads such as this one on BTT also have many suggestions that I have not explored in any detail. As readers comment on this post, I will add more details about specific recommendations.
Interestingly, Dr. Cole’s Wnt Spray product on Amazon claims to reduce DKK1 activity by 21%.