Hair disorders cause significant distress. The main, but limited, treatment for hair\ud loss is minoxidil, an ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channel opener whose\ud mechanism of stimulation is unclear. The regulatory component of KATP channels\ud has three forms: SUR1, SUR2A and SUR2B which all respond to different molecules.\ud Minoxidil only opens SUR2B channels, though SUR1 and SUR2B are present in\ud human hair follicles.\ud To expand our understanding, the red deer hair follicle model was used initially.\ud Deer follicles expressed the same KATP channel genes as human follicles when\ud growing (anagen), but no channels were detected in resting follicles. This\ud reinforces the importance of KATP channels in active hair growth and the usefulness\ud of the deer model. To assess whether SUR1 KATP channels are actually involved in\ud human hair growth, the effects of a selective SUR1 channel opener, NNC55-9216,\ud on scalp follicle growth in organ culture was examined. NNC55-9216\ud stimulated anagen; its effect was augmented by minoxidil. This creates the\ud potential for more effective pharmaceuticals to treat hair loss via SUR1 channels,\ud either alone or in combination with minoxidil.\ud The dermal papilla plays a crucial regulatory role in hair follicle activity\ud determining the type of hair produced. Minoxidil had no effect on dermal papilla\ud cell proliferation, but altered the profile of proteins produced when assessed by\ud proteomics. Further research into the roles of KATP channels and greater\ud understanding of the significance of these protein changes should enhance our\ud knowledge of hair biology and help the development of new, improved therapies\ud for hair pathologies
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