It’s your Mum’s Dad’s fault

Blame granddad, your mother’s father. If he’s bald then the likelihood is that you will also experience a similar form of hair loss.

Male pattern baldness, the most common form of hair loss in men, is related to male sex hormones. One form of MPB, androgenic alopecia, has been traced to genetic variations that sit on the x chromosome handed down to men by their mother. Markus Nöthen, a genomics professor at Germany’s University of Bonn, led the research. His team studied 95 families in which at least two brothers had premature male pattern hair loss. The group included about 200 affected men.

Genetic screening showed that the “cardinal prerequisite” for premature male pattern baldness was a variation in the androgen receptor gene. The gene variant was found “very much more often” among prematurely bald men than among men who still had a full head of hair after age 60.

Granddad’s influence has long been thought relevant, with hair loss thought to skip a generation. Instead the data stresses the relative importance of the maternal line in the inheritance of MPB.

The result of this is that the resemblance should be greater between affected males and their maternal grandfathers than between affected males and their fathers. The ‘skipped generation’ theory is therefore misleading. It’s not your dad’s hairline you should worry about – it’s the men on your mum’s side of the family who’ll provide a better guide to your future prospects of hair retention.

It was found that the genetic variant results in more androgen receptors in the scalp. “Our findings permit two explanations,” Axel Hillmer from Prof. Nöthen’s team explains. “Either more androgen receptors are formed among the men affected, or the variant of the receptor which develops as a result of the genetic change is more stable and is not broken down so quickly. Both mechanisms can lead to the effect of the androgens becoming greater, which in turn brings about hair loss.”

Dihydrotestosterone

If you’d like a specific androgen to blame, it’s called dihydrotestosterone. Androgens generally are important for normal male sexual development before birth and during puberty.

Hair growth begins under the skin in structures called follicles. Each strand of hair normally grows for 2 to 6 years, goes into a resting phase for several months, and then falls out. The cycle starts over when the follicle begins growing a new hair. Increased levels of androgens in hair follicles can lead to a shorter cycle of hair growth and the growth of shorter and thinner strands of hair. Additionally, there is a delay in the growth of new hair to replace strands that are shed.

In time it may be that genetic advances and treatment will greatly reduce the effect of DHT, though any developments are likely to be costly and may result in other side effects. Scalp Micro Pigmentation is still an ideal solution for those looking to disguise the effect of MPB. Blame mum & granddad, blame the genes but there’s no need to suffer the effects of unwanted baldness, come in and see us for a no-obligation consultation. 

Read more, here and here

Wikipedia on Dihydrotestosterone

With wisdom comes…

MPB

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