In a recent article published in Nature, a group of researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) used mouse model experiments to examine how a high-fat diet or genetically induced obesity can affect hair thinning and loss.
The authors found that obesity can lead to depletion of hair follicle stem cells (HFSCs) through the induction of certain inflammatory signals, blocking hair follicle regeneration and ultimately resulting in loss of hair follicles.
Lead author of the study Hironobu Morinaga says,
“We found that those HFSCs in HFD-fed obese mice change their fate into the skin surface corneocytes or sebocytes that secrete sebum upon their activation. Those mice show faster hair loss and smaller hair follicles along with depletion of HFSCs, even with HFD feeding in four consecutive days, HFSCs shows increased oxidative stress and the signs of epidermal differentiation.”
Emi K. Nishimura, senior author stated,
“The gene expression in HFSCs from the high-fat–fed mice indicated the activation of inflammatory cytokine signaling within HFSCs, the inflammatory signals in HFSCs strikingly repress Sonic hedgehog signaling that plays crucial role in hair follicle regeneration in HFSCs.”