Fat and Hair Growth Synchronized By Same Signalling Pathway

Professor Rodney Sinclair University of Melbourne and Epworth Hospital Melbourne, VIC, AustraliaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor Rodney Sinclair
University of Melbourne and Epworth Hospital
Melbourne, VIC, Australia


MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: Activation of Wnt signalling promoted hair growth and fat growth.  Inhibition of Wnt signalling reduces fat growth and hair growth.  We looked at the fat layer on the scalp.  It was reduced by 50% over the bald areas of alopecia areata.  The patch of alopecia areata we looked at was new- only appeared a few days earlier and so the changes in fat thickness are rapid.

What is interesting is that the fat layer is dynamic, and significant fluctuations can occur in a rapid period of time in sync with the hair cycle.  It is also interesting that ligands for BMP6 and IGF2 are pro-adipogenic.

There are a couple of bigger questions that earlier media reports did not focus on- namely upstream factors regulating the hair cycle clock and the beauty of synchronization of fat and hair growth for seasonal thermal insulation.

MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answer: The speed and magnitude of the response of the fat to epidermal signalling is amazing.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answer: A novel molecular mechanism has been identified that alters hair growth and fat thickness.  The chemicals and what they do have been identified.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Answer: Now all we need to do is work out how to deliver it to the right place in the right concentration to get the right effect.


Giacomo Donati, Valentina Proserpio, Beate Maria Lichtenberger, Ken Natsuga, Rodney Sinclair, Hironobu Fujiwara, and Fiona M. Watt

Epidermal Wnt/{beta}-catenin signaling regulates adipocyte differentiation via secretion of adipogenic factors PNAS 2014 ; published ahead of print March 31, 2014, doi:10.1073/pnas.1312880111