Genetic Factors of Alopecia
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Genetic Factors of Alopecia

This article is an overview of the genetic factor which causes alopecia (more commonly known as hair loss in both men and women). The genetic form of this condition is called androgenetic alopecia, in which a high level of the hormone androgen will cause the hair follicles to shed off of a man's head.

The field of genetics has been very busy with different experiments being taken on, whether that be with genetic cloning of animals or testing the transformation of a pGLO gene in various species.  A topic which is not significantly discussed is that of alopecia and its genetic effects.  Alopecia is the scientifically coined term for “hair loss” (Free Dictionary). It occurs in both men and women, but research has shown that men are more affected than the latter (Free Dictionary).  Although many factors can be present in causing this condition such as stress and emotional issues, the genetic factors are more significant. 

Prior to discussing the scientific process through which hair sheds, it is important to understand how hair and follicles are developed.  Hair is synthesized by an important protein called Keratin.  A “hair follicle is the sac that contains the root portion of a single human hair” (Sharecare).   Hair follicles will slowly develop a longer length by the assistance of a structure called dermal papilla (Hair Transplant Advice).  This papilla interacts with the epidermis in order to further the growth of the follicles.  The process of hair growth is carried on by three important stages: anagen, catagen, and telogen.  In the anagen phase, the hair strand will be growing actively until it reaches the catagen phase, at which point the hair follicles will gradually limit the rate at which they are growing.  Basically, by the end of the telogen process, the hair strands are completely grown. 

It is kind of ridiculous to imagine that hair would grow just for it to be lost again.  The determination of hair loss is established by the dermal papilla.  Research has shown that the dermal papilla is responsible for making sure that genes for our hair (such as how much hair will be lost and remain) are well established before birth.  The genetic form of this condition is called “androgenetic alopecia”.   It is caused by androgens, which are sex hormones present in men.  Research has shown that changes in the hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is the reason for pattern baldness.  If the hormone level of the DHT is very high, hair growth will be halted, and the opposite action is carried out (The Biology of Hair Loss).  DHT will then cause the hair  follicles to decrease in length during the anagen phase, along with the color being lightened too (The Biology of Hair Loss). 

The activity of this hormone explains how it is more likely that men shed more hair than women. Overall, genetic factors prove to be more significant in causing hair loss.

References :

The Biology of Hair Loss

 Free Dictionary

Hair Transplant Advice


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