Quorum Sensing: Hair Plucking to Grow New Hair

Yet again (see my 2013 blog post), scientists from the University of Southern California (USC) surprised us this week  by publishing a groundbreaking study related to hair. This one was on how strategic plucking induces new hair growth — in mice :-( The work was led by Dr. Cheng-Ming Chuong and published in the prestigious Cell magazine, giving it significant credibility. You can see the entire paper on Dr. Chuong’s website.

Hair Plucking and Quorum Sensing

I am not sure why such a simple experiment has not yet been attempted on humans. I was not too motivated to write this post several days ago when the news first came out and I read the word “mouse” in there. In fact I have not even bothered to read most of the pages in hair loss forum threads related to this news yet.

Here are some links to this important story: link1 from the USC website; link 2 from the LA times where they discuss macrophages; and link 3 from BBC where they mention a potential cream or injection for this. The results varied significantly depending on the number of follicles plucked and the area from which they were plucked.

When done correctly, new hair even grew outside the plucked area. This type of phenomenon is seen in many areas of biology and is termed as “Quorum Sensing“.  The luckiest mouse had 200 hairs plucked and grew back 1,300 hairs. A great summary of growing hair via plucking can be found here.

One of the quotes from the first link in the last paragraph was interesting:

As a dermatologist, Chen knew that hair follicle injury affects its adjacent environment, and the Chuong lab had already established that this environment in turn can influence hair regeneration.

I wonder if this result from plucking is then also related to some extent to other injury type phenomena that can result in new hair growth such as:

  1. Numerous anecdotal reports of people seeing more hair on a limb after a cast or splint has been removed months after an injury.
  2. Dermarolling type intentional injuries to hair follicles.
  3. Mechanotherapy type intentional injuries to hair follicles.
  4. And maybe even lasers (LLLT) partly working by causing some injury (heating) to hair follicles?

If I was a bit more driven and had more spare time, I would try to experiment with plucking my body hair in both my arms and maybe legs too. I would try different amounts/densities and areas just as in the mouse experiment and take lots of photos.  If any one area became thick with new body hair, I would be quite surprised.

6 thoughts on “Quorum Sensing: Hair Plucking to Grow New Hair”

  1. Hi there,

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  2. taken From http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27323-painful-baldness-cure-regenerate-hair-by-plucking-whats-left.html#.VSvsIPmG98F
    Will it work in humans? “That’s the obvious six million dollar question,” says Nadia Rosenthal from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. She says unlike humans, mice grow hair in waves, which means they could have more coordination between hair follicles, making this effect possible only in mice. “And these were healthy young mice – not balding old mice,” she notes.

    Even if the same effect is seen in people, Annemiek Beverdam of the University of New South Wales in Sydney is unconvinced that this could help people who are already bald. “Baldness is caused by an ageing stem cell population, and the loss of hair follicles. You may be able to slow down progressive hair loss using therapeutics based on this finding by getting in there at the earliest signs of hair loss,” she says. “But once bald means bald forever, unfortunately.”

  3. The publication of this paper is the confirmation that they already tested it in humans and it did not work! It is such a simple test that they cant not to try. If worked in humans the y would published a break troygh paper and made rich , if not worked in humans they publish mouse results. !

  4. the human trials starts soon , and researches say it will be available in 5 years .but why 5 years ? Now i seriously started to think about big conspiracy !

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