Some more than others, but in general most human beings have hair in areas such as body the head, the legs or the arms. However, in others such as the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet, neither the slightest stroke of hair is born, regardless of sex, age or tendency to the villi of the individual. What is this about?

This is a question that many scientists have made and now a team of researchers at the University of California School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, with the objective of applying this knowledge to the treatment of alopecia or the recovery of hair growth in scars of burns and great wounds. In addition, its results, which have been published today in Cell Reports, explain why some animals, like them rabbits, yes they have hair in areas of the body in which other rodents, like mice, no.

Inhibiting the more "hairy" signaling

In the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet the gene is expressed that codifies for an inhibitor of the signaling pathway involved in the development of hair follicles

These researchers focused their study on the WNT signaling pathway, known to play an essential role in the development of hair follicles and the growth of hair. It is clear that, under normal conditions, this route works perfectly in areas of the body such as the legs or arms, but it does not do it in others, such as the palms of the hands.

The answer, as these scientists describe in their study, is in an inhibitory protein of said path, called Dickkopf 2 (DDK2). They found that the gene that encodes for said protein is found Very expressed in the plantar skin of the mice, in which, like in the plants of the feet of humans, there is nothing growing old. However, if it is inactive he Hair begins to develop as in the rest of the body. This shows that The WNT route is also found in these areas, but it is paralyzed through the action of DDK2.

Finally, they found out In rabbits this gene is not expressed, hence his planting skin, like that of the polar bears, yes you have hair. Thus it is shown that, throughout evolution, this path has followed different paths, depending on the concrete needs of each species animal

Beyond curiosity

All this answers to a curious question We have done it for a long time, but the objective of this team of scientists goes far beyond.

It is known that the hair follicles develop in the human fetuses, but stop their production after birth. Therefore, when a great burn or a wound heals, the new skin is devoid of hair. In search of a solution to this problem, they have been proposed check if it is DDK2 who is involved in paralyzing the development of hair follicles; Since, if so, in these specific cases it could be re-activated to encourage the new skin to have hair.

But, above all, the greatest concern regarding the lack of hair is that of people with alopecia. According to data from the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV), the 40% of men with ages between 18 and 39 suffers androgenic alopecia. In addition, the percentage reaches 95% in men with ages above the age of 70.

Although it does not involve health problems, it is accompanied on many occasions by a great one discontent with the physical aspect, so many scientists try to find a solution to it. Previous studies have found a DKK2 like a potential candidate to the onset of this progressive loss of hair, so these researchers intend to also focus the following steps of their work in analyzing it. Without a doubt, if they manage to get to the right place, many people will be glad for their findings.