Like many proteins, the name is a mouthful: prostaglandin D2, or PGD2. University of Pennsylvania’s Luis A. Garza and his team first compared the complete genetic makeup of hairy and not-so-hairy areas on five balding men’s scalps. Through that analysis, they found higher concentrations of the gene that produces PGD2 in the bald parts. In 17 subsequent samples of scalp tissue, they found the concentration of the protein to be three times greater in men’s bare spots than in bushy spots. The researchers also used mice and human-hair cultures to show that inordinate amounts of the protein slowed or stopped growth.
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