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Concept: Long hair


Ginger (Zingiber officinale) has been traditionally used to check hair loss and stimulate hair growth in East Asia. Several companies produce shampoo containing an extract of ginger claimed to have anti-hair loss and hair growth promotion properties. However, there is no scientific evidence to back up these claims. This study was undertaken to measure 6-gingerol, the main active component of ginger, on hair shaft elongation in vitro and hair growth in vivo, and to investigate its effect on human dermal papilla cells (DPCs) in vivo and in vitro. 6-Gingerol suppressed hair growth in hair follicles in culture and the proliferation of cultured DPCs. The growth inhibition of DPCs by 6-gingerol in vitro may reflect a decrease in the Bcl-2/Bax ratio. Similar results were obtained in vivo. The results of this study showed that 6-gingerol does not have the ability to promote hair growth, on the contrary, can suppress human hair growth via its inhibitory and pro-apoptotic effects on DPCs in vitro, and can cause prolongation of telogen phase in vivo. Thus, 6-gingerol rather than being a hair growth stimulating drug, it is a potential hair growth suppressive drug; i.e. for hair removal.

Concepts: In vivo, In vitro, Hair, Hair care, Hair follicle, Ginger, Facial hair, Long hair


Case study A boy aged 6 years was referred to our clinic for evaluation of the presence of fair, thin hair on both of his elbows. This condition had first been observed when he was 2 years of age and the hair had subsequently increased in length and thickness (Figure 1). He had a history of asthma and was being treated by a paediatrician. His family medical record was otherwise unremarkable. This unusual hairiness was symmetrically distributed on the extensor surfaces of both proximal forearms and distal arms. The underlying skin showed no abnormalities. No hypertrichosis was found elsewhere and examination of teeth, skeleton and fingernails was also normal. No other morphological changes were noted. In addition, his height was appropriate for his age. No developmental, mental or physical impairment was observed. The blood cell count and general biochemistry, as well as thyroid and sexual hormonal profiles were all normal. Radiological examination, which was performed on the parents' request, was normal. The boy was diagnosed with hypertrichosis cubiti (HC), and shaving of the areas was recommended.

Concepts: Scientific method, Protein, Height, Hair, Hair follicle, Keratin, Facial hair, Long hair


The hairs of the skin not only function to prevent heat loss but also have important sensory functions. Recent work has now established that each hair of the skin is innervated by one or more of three types of mechanoreceptor ending. Each of these three mechanoreceptor types possesses distinct molecular features and detects distinctive information about skin touch, which is relayed to specific brain locations in a somatotopic fashion.

Concepts: Heat, Sensory system, Skin, Hair, Hair follicle, Keratin, Sensory receptor, Long hair


Many stick insects and mantophasmids possess tarsal ‘heel pads’ (euplantulae) covered by arrays of conical, micrometre-sized hairs (acanthae). These pads are used mainly under compression; they respond to load with increasing shear resistance, and show negligible adhesion. Reflected-light microscopy in stick insects (Carausius morosus) revealed that the contact area of ‘heel pads’ changes with normal load on three hierarchical levels. First, loading brought larger areas of the convex pads into contact. Second, loading increased the density of acanthae in contact. Third, higher loads changed the shape of individual hair contacts gradually from circular (tip contact) to elongated (side contact). The resulting increase in real contact area can explain the load dependence of friction, indicating a constant shear stress between acanthae and substrate. As the euplantula contact area is negligible for small loads (similar to hard materials), but increases sharply with load (resembling soft materials), these pads show high friction coefficients despite little adhesion. This property appears essential for the pads' use in locomotion. Several morphological characteristics of hairy friction pads are in apparent contrast to hairy pads used for adhesion, highlighting key adaptations for both pad types. Our results are relevant for the design of fibrillar structures with high friction coefficients but small adhesion.

Concepts: Force, Classical mechanics, Carausius morosus, Phasmatodea, Hair, Friction, Long hair, Contact area


We describe a newly discovered Macaca species from the Modog, in southeastern Tibet, China, Macaca leucogenys sp. nov or the “white-cheeked macaque”. Based on 738 photos taken during direct observations and captured by camera traps this new species appears to be distinct from the Macaca sinica species group. Moreover, the species is distinguished from all potential sympatric macaque species (M. mulatta, M. thibetana, M. assamensis, and M. munzala) in exhibiting a suite of pelage characteristics including relatively uniform dorsal hair pattern, hairy ventral pelage, relative hairless short tail, prominent pale to white side- and chin-whiskers creating a white cheek and round facial appearance, dark facial skin on the muzzle, long and thick hairs on its neck, and a round rather than arrow-shaped male genitalia. This new macaque species was found to exploit a diverse set of habitat types from tropical forest at 1395 m, to primary and secondary evergreen broad-leaved forest at 2000 m, as well as mixed broadleaf-conifer forest at 2700 m. Its range may extend to neighboring counties in Tibet and the part of southeastern Tibet controlled by India. The white-cheeked macaque is threatened by illegal hunting and the construction of hydropower stations. Discovery of this new primate species further highlights the high value for biodiversity conservation of southeastern Tibet and calls for more intensive surveys, studies, and environmental protection in this area. Am. J. Primatol. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: Biodiversity, Conservation biology, China, Macaque, Primate, Speciation, Hair, Long hair



We have previously demonstrated that hair follicles contain nestin-expressing pluripotent stem cells that can effect nerve and spinal cord repair upon transplantation. In the present study, isolated whisker follicles from nestin-driven green fluorescent protein (ND-GFP) mice were histocultured on Gelfoam for 3 weeks for the purpose of transplantation to the spinal cord to heal an induced injury. The hair shaft was cut off from Gelfoam-histocultured whisker follicles, and the remaining part of the whisker follicles containing GFP-nestin expressing pluripotent stem cells were transplanted into the injured spinal cord of nude mice, along with the Gelfoam. After 90 days, the mice were sacrificed and the spinal cord lesion was observed to have healed. ND-GFP expression was intense at the healed area of the spinal cord, as observed by fluorescence microscopy, demonstrating that the hair follicle stem cells were involved in healing the spinal cord. Unexpectedly, the transplanted whisker follicles sprouted out remarkably long hair shafts in the spinal cord during the 90 days after transplantation of Gelfoam whisker histocultures to the injured spine. The pigmented hair fibers, grown from the transplanted whisker histocultures, curved and enclosed the spinal cord. The unanticipated results demonstrate the great potential of hair growth after transplantation of Gelfoam hair follicle histocultures, even at an ectopic site.

Concepts: Protein, Fluorescence, Stem cell, Cell biology, Demonstration, Hair, Hair follicle, Long hair


Acquired trichorrhexis nodosa is a common cause of hair loss for patients of all ethnicities. It is especially prevalent in black patients with tightly curled hair types and can present unique diagnostic and therapeutic challenges due to structural differences in these hair types and the combination of various hair care and styling practices that contribute to hair damage. While scalp biopsies can help rule out other etiologies of hair loss, there is a paucity of histologic findings in acquired trichorrhexis nodosa, making this primarily a clinical diagnosis. Instead of more traditional prescription based therapies, the management of this form of hair loss emphasizes protecting the hair shaft and minimizing further damage through the development of a healthy hair care regimen. This involves appropriate selection and use of cleansing products and conditioning agents that help protect the hair from the insults of daily grooming. This paper will review the current literature on acquired trichorrhexis nodosa and will provide guidelines and recommendations for management by reviewing the different types of cleansing and conditioning products that can be used to prevent and/or halt the progression of hair breakage.

Concepts: Medicine, Hair, Hair care, Hair follicle, Long hair, Trichorrhexis nodosa


Dermal papilla and hair epithelial stem cells regulate hair formation and the growth cycle. Damage to or loss of these cells can cause hair loss. Although several studies claim to reconstitute hairs using rodent cells in an animal model, additional research is needed to develop a stable human hair follicle reconstitution protocol. In this study, we have evaluated hair induction by injecting adult cultured human dermal papilla cells and a mixture of hair epithelial and dermal papilla cells in a mouse model.

Concepts: Protein, Skin, Rodent, Mouse, Animal model, Hair, Hair follicle, Long hair


Mechanisms that regulate the growth of eyelashes have remained obscure. We ascertained two families from Pakistan who presented with familial trichomegaly, or extreme eyelash growth. Using a combination of whole exome sequencing and homozygosity mapping, we identified distinct pathogenic mutations within fibroblast growth factor 5 (FGF5) that underlie the disorder. Subsequent sequencing of this gene in several additional trichomegaly families identified an additional mutation in FGF5. We further demonstrated that hair fibers from forearms of these patients were significantly longer than hairs from control individuals, with an increased proportion in the growth phase, anagen. Using hair follicle organ cultures, we show that FGF5 induces regression of the human hair follicle. We have identified FGF5 as a crucial regulator of hair growth in humans for the first time, to our knowledge, and uncovered a therapeutic target to selectively regulate eyelash growth.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Fibroblast growth factor, Human anatomy, Hair, Hair follicle, Facial hair, Long hair