Category Archives: FGF-9

Key Growth Factors in Platelet-Rich Plasma

I have mentioned platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in a dozen or so posts on this blog over the past three years. Although the positive effect of PRP on hair growth is somewhat controversial, there is no controversy when it comes to the fact that PRP contains numerous concentrated growth factors. And many of these growth factors are known to at least modestly benefit hair quality as well as hair quantity.

While in the past I have briefly discussed some of the key growth factors that are highly concentrated in PRP, I think that it is worth having a separate post here that discusses all of them in a bit more detail. It took me a while to research and write this post, and there is a good chance that I am still missing things so any corrections and suggestions in the comments are most welcome.

It should be noted that even many non-PRP related hair loss hair loss products have targeted one or more of the below listed growth factors in order to stimulate hair growth. There is a good chance that both PRP as well as hair loss products that contain some or all of the below growth factors make existing hair stronger, but it is highly unlikely that they ever bring back hair that has been lost for a long time. They could bring back recently lost hair, but that is also a controversial subject.

Growth Factors in Platelet-Rich Plasma

The key growth factors in PRP that are supposedly beneficial to hair growth are:

  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1).
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF).
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor (PDGF).
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF).
  • Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF).
  • Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGF-β).
  • Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).

IGF-1

I start with the growth hormone insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) because I have already covered it a few times on this blog before.

  • Promotion of IGF-1 expression is one of the main considerations behind Shiseido’s bestselling adenosine based products.
  • US-based Follicept is also targeting IGF-1 delivery in its hair loss product.
  • Adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs — one of the more exciting recent developments in the hair loss world) are rich in various growth factors including IGF-1.
  • Last year, an important and widely publicized study found that topical application of oleuropein (derived from the leaves of olive drupes) induces hair growth in mice. According to the study findings, oleuropein-treated mouse skin showed substantial upregulation of IGF-1.

FGF

I list fibroblast growth factor (FGF) next because I have also covered it many times on this blog before. There are 22 types of FGFs numbered FGF-1 through FGF-22. A significant number of these influence hair growth and I may write an entire detailed post on FGFs at some point in the future. I have covered some of the key ones on this blog before, in particular FGF-5, which discourages hair growth and has to be inhibited. Australian company Cellmid’s Evolis line of products claims to inhibit FGF-5.

Note that PRP does not inhibit growth factors, so it is more relevant for the purposes of this post to discuss some of the FGFs that promote hair growth. It seems like the main ones are FGF-1, FGF-2, FGF-7, FGF-9 and FGF-10.  Evidence for three of those (FGF-1, FGF-2 and FGF-10) positive effects on hair is found in an important 2014 study from China. Note that “hair cell regeneration” or variations of that term are mentioned a number of times in this study, even if in mice.  PRP is said to increase FGF-2 concentration levels. Interestingly, when I interviewed Dr. Malcolm Xing last year, he mentioned that FGF-2 is the preferred growth factor used at this clinic for his work purposes.

FGF-9 has become an especially important growth factor in large part due to the work of the renowned Dr. George Cotsarelis, who holds a patent titled “Fibroblast growth factor-9 promotes hair follicle regeneration after wounding“. Dr. Cotsarelis is also a co-author of a 2013 paper that concludes: “The importance of FGF-9 in hair follicle regeneration suggests that it could be used therapeutically in humans“.

Finally, FGF-7 (also called keratinocyte growth factor, or KGF) is required for hair growth. The well known researcher Dr. Elaine Fuchs co-authored an important study on FGF-7, hair development and wound healing all the way back in 1995. Moreover, Histogen’s Hair Stimulating Complex product is focusing on KGF as one of the key growth factors to be injected in human scalps.

PDGF

Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) is a key growth factor involved in blood vessel formation. A 2006 study from Japan found that “PDGF isoforms induce and maintain anagen phase of murine hair follicles“. Adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) are rich in various growth factors including  PDGF, and are becoming increasingly utilized in the hair loss world.

VEGF

Besides hair growth, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is also involved in blood vessel formation. A 2001 study concluded that “normal hair growth and size are dependent on VEGF-induced perifollicular angiogenesis”. Note that Shiseido’s adenosine based shampoo also promotes the expression of VEGF. The previously discussed adipose-derived stem cells are also rich in various growth factors including  VEGF.

Also, one of the ways in which Minoxidil works is via the upregulation of VEGF. Moreover, Histogen’s Hair Stimulating Complex product is focusing on VEGF as one of the key growth factors to be injected in human scalps.

A number of studies have examined natural and synthetic products that increase VEGF and their impact on scalp hair. For example, in 2018, Japanese researchers found that water-soluble chicken egg yolk peptides stimulate hair growth through induction of VEGF production.

EGF

Epidermal growth factor (EGF) promotes cell growth, proliferation and differentiation. A 2003 study from Hong Kong concluded that EGF functions as a biological switch that is “turned on and off in hair follicles at the beginning and end of the anagen phase of the hair cycle“.

TGF-β

Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) is a cytokine protein growth factor. From the brief research I did, it seems like TGF-β actually adversely impacts hair growth!  e.g., see here, here and here. So I am not sure if this growth factor in PRP benefits hair.  Will update this if I find out more.

NGF

There seem to be mixed opinions on the impact of nerve growth factor (NGF) on the hair cycle in any significant manner. A 2006 study suggests both anagen-promoting and catagen-promoting effects of NGF on the hair cycle. Another study, also from 2006, seems to also find different effects of NGF on the hair cycle.

Brief Items of Interest, August 2015

Hair loss news first:

— A very interesting radio interview with Dr. Luis Garza regarding his team’s latest groundbreaking findings on triggering organ and hair regeneration. See my recent post on those findings.

— On July 30, it was announced that the University of Arkansas (along with several other entities) was issued a patent for a new hair loss drug based on work done by Dr. Joshua Sakon and three others. The patent is titled “Fusion Proteins of Collagen Binding-Domain and Parathyroid Hormone.” Arkansas based BiologicsMD holds the exclusive license to this technology, and their related hair loss drug will be known as BMD-2341.

Samumed is recruiting for a 50-person supplemental clinical trial for its SM04554.

— George Cotsarelis gets yet one more patent approved (this one related to FGF-9 and hair growth). Filed in October 2014 and approved in August 2015.

— For several months, Spencer (aka Spex) has been experimenting with using Bimatoprost on his previously sparse eyebrows. He uses the Lumigan brand that is designed to reduce high pressure in the eyes. He recently added the above page on his site, and it is well worth checking out the before and after photos on there. Many hair loss sufferers have been waiting for months to hear about the delayed results of the clinical trials of Bimatoprost when used on scalp hair. While I have been skeptical that the drug will do much beyond what Minoxidil already does for scalp hair, Spex’s eyebrow results are very encouraging. Bimatoprost, if approved for use on the scalp, will entail a drastically higher dosage compared to what Spex is using on his eyebrows.

— An optimistic conclusion from a molecular biologist: “In any case, I think that treatment for baldness is now a matter of quite a short period of time.” Article rambles a bit, perhaps because the writer is not a native English speaker.

— I am surprised that there has not been much new research coming from Israel when it comes to hair loss. The country has a booming start-up scene, and from my observations, Jewish people seem to suffer from baldness at an even higher rate than Caucasians (who in turn have much higher rates of baldness compared to Asians). In any case, this new 3D printed comb for hair loss project from Technion University in Israel seems interesting (you need to translate), although I would not be surprised if we never hear about it again. FYI — For any readers in Israel, here is an article from 2011 with names of local hair loss experts and clinics that you could consult.

— Some interesting thoughts on platelet-rich fibrin matrix from Dr. William Lindsey.

— In June, Dr. Alan Feller started a controversial thread on the HTN forum regarding strip (FUT) hair transplants still being more popular than FUE hair transplants. That thread has taken on a life of its own, and I only read it this month since I do not frequent those forums too often. Based on my own research, I do not believe that strip will remain very popular, and it already might be less popular than FUE considering that doctors can now just purchase the ARTAS robot and start practicing FUE with little past experience in doing so. In any case, Dr. Feller raises some interesting points in that thread, and I wonder if FUE transaction rates are really that high in the hands of experts?  If I was getting a hair transplant today, I would go for FUE.

— A very useful update from a Japanese resident regarding AAPE and HARG treatment in Japan.

— An interesting study (on mice), where pluripotent stem cells from whisker follicles differentiate and grow into new hair when transplanted to the spinal cord.

— Comedian Matt Lucas has suffered from alopecia universalis for most of his life. A nice story on him helping a young boy suffering from the same here.

— Somewhat related to the above, scientists use cells created from hair follicles to repair damaged nerves.

And now on to medical items of interest:

Things are getting creepier and creepier and at the same time evermore mind-boggling each month.

Nearly complete brain developed in petri dish by Ohio State scientists. This was major news yesterday and today.

— United Therapeutics and genetically engineering pigs in order to transplant their organs into humans. I find it absolutely fascinating that you can insert human genes into animals and that scientists are able to increase the number that they can insert every year. [FYI — the founder and CEO of this company is the amazing MTF transsexual Martine Rothblatt, who also co-founded Sirius XM satellite radio and has a law degree].

Young blood is what we all need.

Body-hackers. Worth clicking just to see the image.

— A pro designer baby article worth a skim-through. The Chinese will probably stab at this first.

A list of the top 11 3D-Bioprinting companies.