TGF-β and Hair Growth

This past month was the most important one of the year in the hair loss world. First came the major finding of SCUBE3 signaling and hair growth from researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Several weeks later, a team from the University of California, Riverside (UCR) released findings that TGF-β is the key protein that governs hair follicle growth and death.

A lot of people confused the above two studies. For one, those two universities are less than one hour drive from each other. Also, in the SCUBE3 study, there was a connection made with TGF-β (aka TGF Beta).

Interestingly, the lead authors of the above two studies (Wang and Plikus) even collaborated in a 2017 study relating to hair growth pattern differences around the body.

TGF-β Governs Hair Follicle Fate

The actual study can be found in Biophysics Journal. A lot of media picked up on this news, including the prolific hair loss news covering Daily Mail. In a rarity, even WebMD wrote about these findings.

Key quote from study co-author and mathematical biologist Dr. Quixuan Wang:

TGF-beta has two opposite roles. It helps activate some hair follicle cells to produce new life, and later, it helps orchestrate apoptosis, the process of cell death.

Also according to Dr. Wang: When a hair follicle kills itself, it never kills its stem cell reservoir. If the surviving stem cells receive the signal to regenerate, they can divide and develop into a new follicle. I am sure we have heard something similar many times in the past.

Long-lost dead hair follicles can certainly regenerate under the right circumstances. Unfortunately, one potential side effect of such future treatments is unimpeded cell growth proliferation that could lead to cancer. Hence the need for lengthy human clinical trials.

For some reason, TGF-β is called a chemical rather than protein (or cytokine) in most of the articles and headings. The UCR researchers found that when the TGF-β chemical is in high concentration levels, it kills hair follicles. However, when the levels are “just right“, it causes them to grow new hairs.

If the levels of TGF-Beta can be controlled, it will be possible to prevent chemical buildup and further hair loss. In a best case scenario, it might also be possible to re-activate follicle stem cells and stimulate hair regrowth.

Note that transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) is one of the growth factors in PRP.

Will these Mathematicians cure hair loss? I certainly hope so, since I have a bias towards the subject as a past Math major.

TGF Beta 1, 2 and 3

Note that there are three different isoforms of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) in mammals:

  1. TGF beta 1.
  2. TGF beta 2.
  3. TGF beta 3.

A 2019 study from China titled: “New Insight into the Relationship between TGF-β Superfamily and Noggin in hair cycle” contains a great diagram and table that explains the impact of each of the three on the hair growth cycle. I am pasting it below.

TGF-β Hair Growth
TGF-β family and the hair growth cycle. Source: IOSR Journal of Dental and Medical Sciences. Author: Xiuhong Jiao.

57 thoughts on “TGF-β and Hair Growth”

  1. So many new developments on the horizon, the next few years will be interesting. I have my hopes on SCUBE3 lol.

  2. I’ll temper my expectations for now-we’ve been here many, many times before. I hope one day (preferably before I depart this mortal coil) that I see at least “one” hair fully regrown by some company, somewhere, some place, before they toss me overboard?!

  3. I wonder if the release of Deepmind‘s Alphafold had some impact on these researches, as they deal primarily with proteins.

      1. Yes, having a hair transplant and using SCUBE3 don’t have any interaction. All SCUBE is doing is exciting hair follicles active and dormant.

        1. Well, we actually don’t know, Since when you implant the new follicle, I better the old follicle it destroyed it with the incision.

    1. Nobody on any forum/site knows when anything is coming out. Only the scientist working on the developments know and since no one is in direct contact…nobody knows a timeline. Btw how old are you?

      1. I am a woman and i am 40. I need this now or in 1 to 2 years max… Seriously… I can’t hide it now bui i have to quit my regular birth control pill for a progestin pill only call Slynd. Slynd is antiandrogenic but does not contain estrogens. Mosft women with Again who switch to Slynd see the loss returns because of the oestrogens drop. I scared. I also take 25mg of Spiro.

        1. This is 5+ years away. They haven’t even started trials yet, and even if they did, it still has go through them.

        2. If ur open to it wearing a hair system is an option, u can glue it to ur head and it’s good for 2-4 weeks, i wear one.. it’s great!

    1. Minoxidil never worked for me but i am giving it another try with maxogen. It give some heart palpitation a bit, but it seems to be decreasing after a few days of use. I had the same issue with regular minox, heat palpitation for 3/5 days then back to normal. Topical only.

    1. Amazing product, as it seems – but I think there‘s a couple of „injectors“ already on the market. I also remember that Kyocera developed sth like that for Tsuji, Fukuda‘s other company is also developing such devices.

      Maybe this one is much better, hard to say. Hairclone or Epibiotech could use it for their trials…

      Good to see Replicel alive, maybe they found their niche. The hair stuff seems to be alive, but my hope is gone. Shiseido finished their own trial over 2 years ago, since then no news.

    2. Nice to see they have good results with the injector, the 100K questions is if/when they’ll actually have something to inject.

      1. Ha. Cheeky bugger! I’m not reading all that. War and Peace is shorter than that. Trying to decipher anything Deepak Chopra says would be easier. I tried scrolling down but nodded off. Ask Nasa…he’ll do it. That kid was great.

        1. Yeah, but other people will describe it in normal staid scientific terminology. Nasa gave up on everything after the end of JAKs I think :-(

          1. I’ll leave Justia to the experts. All I’ll say is one might want to book a retreat b4 wading into that tome of landfill. Nasa. I remember his boundless enthusiasm (unlike me). When JAKS bit the dust he must’ve been crushed.

            1. There was a guy on another forum “It’s 2014 come on already” that was like the Nasa of Bimatoprost, 200% all in. When it flopped he disappeared. I felt the same way as Nasa when I first read about Histogen and Replicel, telling some bald buds that the cure was in sight. Now we posting on the Admins blog that has a name with the notion we’d be with new treatments a couple years ago. Still, I look with interest at new developments but like Summy, realism. Presently, the most I get out of this and related sites are what can we do now and improvements on the available treatments.

              1. Yep, hold onto those future hair cure expectations lightly kids-that way you won’t get too disappointed. Listen to Mr Yoda (and to a slightly lesser degree, Mr old-as-balls Summy). In the meantime use what’s available-if applicable, bc until it’s on the shelf, it’s really just words and pie charts.
                Btw Admin; I’ve said it b4…HLC 2020+
                (I’m sending the invoice now. Bitcoin is fine.)

                1. I bet my balls are older than yours Summy, turning 60 in about 4 month, shit! WTF am I doing surfing these hair loss blogs, should be paying pickleball in a senior center!

                    1. Cheers Admin, my mom just turned 90 and is still independent and active. You can’t fight genetics but exercise, healthy diet and moderation (as much as possible) definitely helps. I’m pretty lean, have save a good amount of hair and have very good skin for my age. One of my favorite things I read on a forum was how a guy was bitching that minox was ruining his skin…he was on it for 20 freakin years, of course your skin is going to age, geeeez!

                  1. You beat me by two years. Just don’t step on the ping pongs in the mornings when getting out of bed like I’m afraid I will one day soon. Btw: better to surf online than out in real surf like me. Extremely crowded these days and often unpleasant! Admin; where’s my Bitcoins?

    1. Amplifica raised 2.690.000 USD just this May.

      This should be enough for pre-clinical testing of SCUBE3 – but nobody knows if they will do so. The company does other research too.

      1. There’s no way they wouldn’t bring this to pre clinical testing as it is both novel and has the potential to do very well in the market. Plus they patent it for a reason as well as applying for FDA trials….

        1. I believe “I am convinced” that this molecule will be the next revolution in the world of androgenetic alopecia:)
          And it was about time …

          1. TGF ? I read on other forums that this molecule has been known since the mid 90s and that nothing happened….
            Or maybe you were talking about Scube ?

            we need something that can be out in 3 years max…seriously.

        2. In an article online they say the first human trial should start in t years….5 years just for the first human trials, if this works, it Won’t be out before 10 years minimum…

          1. You are right, but the molecule can be used without that FDA approval!! We don’t need their approvement, screw them!

            1. How can it be used without an FDA approval for hairloss ? How do you find it ? Plus it seems it needs to be injected.

  4. You won’t hear about scub3 again so not sure why everyone is getting all worked up thinking it’s going to be a cure lol….in a month this will pushed down the road a new miracle molecule will come out with thr same hype …..fue big 3 then pray for Bayer to give is a treatment that can reverse a couple norwoods.

    1. I respectfully disagree. This seems to be the real deal this time. I know we’ve been burned year after year.. something tells me this is different.. and I’m super excited.

      1. I hope you are right, if only the process could speed up…. Why does it take so long for something to hit the market ?

    2. I knew that TGF B interacted with hairloss in 2006 when I was 19. They’ve had plenty of time.

      Release date

      That’s all we can interpret.
      Stemson tx is the only thing I really have mild hope for at this point.

  5. Summary description)Suzhou, August 9, 2022 – Kintor Pharmaceutical Limited (“Kintor Pharma”, HKEX: 9939), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing innovative small molecules and biological therapeutics, today announced that the company has completed the enrollment and dosing of 92 subjects for its phase I clinical trial of GT20029 in China for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia (AGA) and acne on August 8, 2022.

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