A research team from the Oregon Health and Sciences University, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif. and UCLA has incidentally may have found a solution for the hair loss by stress. They discovered a chemical compound that induces hair growth by blocking a stress-related hormone.
Researchers had been using mice for another experiment concerning gastrointestinal studies, the mice were genetically altered to produce a stress hormone called corticotrophin-releasing factor, or CRF. When those mice age, they become bald on their backs. The Salk Institute researchers had developed the chemical compound, a peptide called astressin-B, and described its ability to block the action of CRF. Stenzel-Poore had created an animal model of chronic stress by altering the mice to overproduce CRF.
UCLA and VA researchers injected the astressin-B into the bald mice to observe how its CRF-blocking ability affected gastrointestinal tract function. The initial single injection had no effect, so the investigators continued the injections over five days to give the peptide a better chance of blocking the CRF receptors. They measured the inhibitory effects of this regimen on the stress-induced response in the colons of the mice and placed the animals back in their cages with their hairy counterparts.
About three months later, the investigators returned to these mice to conduct further gastrointestinal studies and found they couldn’t distinguish them from their unaltered brethren. They had regrown hair on their previously bald backs.