Feliz Navidad — Breakthrough from Spain

Update: Seems like the positive impact of macrophages on hair growth was already known in 2007!  Thanks to commenter “spain”.

2007 study from Osaka et al.


I had heard about all of the above  developments right around when they first occurred, but was still not particularly hopeful of anything significant happening in Spain when it comes to hair loss research related breakthroughs.   Most of the widely respected hair loss research scientists in the world seem to reside in the US, UK, Germany, Japan and several other parts of Northern Europe and developed Asia.

However, two days ago, Spanish scientists (from the previously mentioned cancer research institute CNIO) led by Dr. Mirna Perez-Moreno and Dr. Donatello Castellana published a groundbreaking hair loss research related paper in the PLOS Biology journal titled “Macrophages Contribute to the Cyclic Activation of Adult Hair Follicle Stem Cells.”  It should be noted that Dr. Moreno has previously worked at noted hair loss researcher Elaine Fuchs’ laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow. Further lending credibility to this paper is a third co-author and well known hair loss researcher by the name of Dr. Ralf Paus.

For the average layperson (including myself), the above publication is difficult to digest in its entirety if one does not want to spend half a day reading it and go back and forth with google dictionary.  So here are links to articles with easier to understand summaries:

Article 1: From the sometimes great, usually trashy dailymail.

Article 2: From the interesting EurekAlert.

Article 3: From the Spanish elpais (use the “Translate to English” option in the Chrome browser after right clicking on your mouse).

The main findings:

  1. Macrophages (a type of white blood cell) can activate adult hair follicle stem cells.
  2. Mice started to regrow hair when they were given anti-inflammatory drugs (It seems like this whole year in hair loss research can largely be summed up by the words “inflammation” and “anti-inflammatory”).
  3.  Macrophages secrete a number of growth factors including a class of proteins called Wnt.  You can do a search on this blog for Wnt, Wnt7b and Wnt/Beta-Catenin to learn more about Wnt proteins and corresponding pathways.  You can search via the search box in the upper right, or via the “Categories” menu located on the upper left side if you are viewing this blog on a computer (or all the way down if you are viewing this blog on a mobile device or tablet).

As usual the study was carried out in mice and not humans…but I think that it is now only a matter of a short time before we see an increasing number of trials in humans.  As I have mentioned many times on this blog, this will probably happen faster in Asia than in other regions due to regulatory reasons.

11 thoughts on “Feliz Navidad — Breakthrough from Spain”

  1. All those people that’s still think baldness and immune attacks are not related will be in for a surprise. I really think there is a significant correlation between body’s response to most likely an faulty read of the follicle dna perhaps.

  2. Many thanks for all the posts, Admin.

    I wish you the very best for 2015. Happy new year. We all expect a breaktrough for the hair loss research in the coming year !

    My very best regards.


  3. William thanks for the wishes and great to have readers like you.

    Spain, thanks! I updated the post. Have not had time to compare the 2007 study in its entirety with this one, assuming the former is fully available.

  4. What a shame! I was like finally a good news and no, it isn’t! Why do they talk about macrophage like it was a new breakthrough ? I don’t get it!! Anyway, Happy new year to all of you! Hope this year we’re going to get good news for a cure, we never know!

    1. I don’t know Englishman, I thought it meant something before the comment of “Spain”. let’s find out why they are going to say about this suppose breakthrough later on the media! (Sorry for my English)

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