Here is an interesting few lines from studies that mention T3's positive & negative effects on hair growth...which leads to "hair regrowth" applications of novel peptides. There may be a "research chemical" type solution to your friend's alopecia problem. The discussion section from the study is interesting.
ABSTRACT 1 (snippet):
Previously, we demonstrated stimulation of epidermal proliferation and hair growth in triiodothyronine (T(3)) treated mice. To distinguish skin effects of directly applied T(3) from those of systemic hyperthyroidism, we treated CD-1 mice with either intraperitoneally (IP) or topically administered T(3)....
T(3) stimulated proliferation in a dose-dependent, biphasic pattern with the peak at 0.5 nM T(3) (84 +/- 30%, p < 0.05). Paradoxically, T(3) inhibited proliferation of keratinocytes cocultured with fibroblasts, the nadir at 0.1 nM T(3) (34% +/- 4%, p < 0.001). These studies are the first describing divergent effects of IP and topically administered thyroid hormone. The data suggest that while T(3) stimulated keratinocyte proliferation, T(3) also stimulated proliferation inhibitory factor(s) from skin fibroblasts. - Thyroid hormone action on skin: diverging effects of topical versus intraperitoneal administration, Safer JD... Thyroid. 2003 Feb;13(2):159-65
ABSTRACT 2 (snippet):
Human skin produces parathyroid hormone related peptide. This peptide is a potent inhibitor of epidermal cell growth. - Topical PTH (1-34) is a novel, safe and effective treatment for psoriasis: a randomized self-controlled trial and an open trial, Holick MF...Br J Dermatol. 2003 Aug;149(2):370-6
STUDY FULL DISCUSSION:
A Topical Parathyroid Hormone/Parathyroid Hormone-Related Peptide Receptor Antagonist Stimulates Hair Growth in Mice,Joshua D. Safer...Endocrinology 2006 Vol. 148, No. 3 1167-1170
Although the physiological role of PTHrP in the skin is not well understood, mounting evidence suggests that this peptide plays an important role in epidermal proliferation and differentiation (4, 5, 6). The PTH/PTHrP receptor agonist, PTH 1–34, inhibited epidermal proliferation in cultured keratinocytes and SKH-1 hairless mice (7). The PTH/PTHrP receptor antagonist, PTH (7–34), reversed the agonist’s antiproliferative effect in vitro. In mice, ip PTH (7–34) stimulated 3H-thymidine incorporation into epidermis in a dose-dependent manner, increased visible hair number, increased hair length, and advanced telogen hair follicles into anagen (6, 8).
The current project was undertaken to determine whether we could deliver PTH (7–34) topically and achieve hair growth stimulation in that fashion.
One of the biggest hurdles in developing peptides for the treatment of hair growth disorders is that there has been no effective method of delivering them topically. In the current study, we formulated PTH (7–34) in a novel liposome cream, which dramatically stimulated hair growth. This represents the first demonstration that a topical peptide preparation can effectively stimulate hair growth.
PTHrP has been implicated as a possible chalone, the hypothesized but elusive hair growth inhibitor that gradually accumulates during anagen and moves the follicle to catagen when present in sufficient concentrations (6, 12) A putative mechanism for PTH (7–34) action is competitive inhibition of the PTHrP antiproliferative and prodifferentiating effects (8).
A unique aspect of skin, is the possibility to directly target it via topical treatment. Our group mixed the PTH/PTHrP receptor agonist, PTH (1–34), into Novasome A and applied the compound topically to humans (13). The antiproliferative properties of PTH (1–34) resulted in successful treatment of the hyperproliferative skin disorder, psoriasis. Whether increased epidermal proliferation caused by PTH (7–34) could exacerbate hyperproliferative skin disease, like psoriasis, remains a topic for future study.
Although the reported study was done with female mice, similar experiments have been done with male mice. The results were the same, consistent with the cutaneous effects of PTH (7–34) being similar in both sexes.
SKH-1 hairless mice were chosen for the study because they provide a background on which changes in hair growth are well discerned. SKH-1 mice lose all external hair in their first hair cycle after birth. Their complete hair loss is related to a mutation in the hairless gene (hr). Although SKH-1 mice appear to have complete hair loss, close inspection reveals that a small number of their hair follicle appear normal histologically.
The SKH-1 mouse model was chosen in part because they are amenable to close visual inspection without shaving or depilating. The avoidance of hair removal procedures removed a potential source of skin injury from our study. In addition, it was straightforward to inspect the mice and confirm the absence of inflammation or injury. In that way, we could attribute the results to anagen and not inflammation.
Endocrinologists see both men and women with alopecia that may be associated with gonadal hormone deficiencies. There are few options available for treatment. Our current study is the first to report the hair stimulating effect of a PTH/PTHrP receptor antagonist topically applied to skin in vivo. Thus, we introduce a novel paradigm to develop topical PTH analogs for treating disorders of hair growth.
- Kronenberg HM, Lanske B, Kovacs CS, Chung UI, Lee K, Segre GV, Schipani E, Juppner H 1998 Functional analysis of the PTH/PTHrP network of ligands and receptors. Recent Prog Horm Res 53:283–301
- Hayman JA, Danks JA, Ebeling PR, Moseley JM, Kemp BE, Martin TJ 1989 Expression of parathyroid hormone related protein in normal skin and in tumors of skin and skin appendages. J Pathol 158:293–296
- Atillasoy EG, Burtis WJ, Milstone LM 1991 Immunohistochemical localization of parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) in normal human skin. J Invest Dermatol 96:277–280
- Henderson JE, Kremer R, Rhim JS, Goltzman D 1992 Identification and functional characterization of adenylate cyclase-linked receptors for parathyroid hormone-like peptides on immortalized human keratinocytes. Endocrinology 130:449–457
- Kaiser SM, Laneuville P, Bernier SM, Rhim JS, Kremer R, Goltzman D 1992 Enhanced growth of a human keratinocyte cell line induced by antisense RNA for parathyroid hormone-related peptide. J Biol Chem 267:13623–13628
- Holick MF, Chen ML, Kong XF, Sanan DK 1996 Clinical uses for calciotropic hormones 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 and parathyroid hormone-related peptide in dermatology: a new perspective. J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc 1:1–9
- Holick M, Ray S, Chen TC, Tian X, Persons K 1994 Novel functions of parathyroid hormone antagonist: stimulation of epidermal proliferation and hair growth in mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 91:8014–8016
- Schilli MB, Ray S, Paus R, Obi-Tabot E, Holick MF 1997 Control of hair growth with parathyroid hormone (7–34). J Invest Dermatol 108:928–932
- Fleisher D, Niemeic SM, Oh CK, Hu Z, Ramachandran C, Weiner N 1995 Topical delivery of growth hormone releasing peptide using liposomal systems: an in vitro study using hairless mouse skin. Life Sci 57:1293–1297
- Safer JD, Fraser LM, Ray S, Holick MF 2001 Topical triiodothyronine stimulates epidermal proliferation, dermal thickening, and hair growth in mice and rats. Thyroid 11:717–724
- Safer JD, Crawford TM, Fraser LM, Hoa M, Ray S, Chen TC, Persons K, Holick MF 2003 Thyroid hormone action on skin: Diverging effects of topical versus intraperitoneal administration. Thyroid 13:159–165
- Chase HB 1954 Growth of the hair. Physiol Rev 34:113–126
- Holick MF, Chimeh FN, Ray S 2003 Topical PTH (1–34) is a novel, safe and effective treatment for psoriasis: a randomized self-controlled trial and an open trial. Br J Dermatol 149:370–376