How does Minoxidil stimulate hair growth?

Drs Farjo and their team have been collaborating with Professor Valerie Randall of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Bradford on this project for the last few years.

It has been known for many years that Minoxidil, Diazoxide and other related drugs stimulate hair growth as a side effect. Minoxidil (Regaine/ Rogaine) has been widely used as a topical hair growth-promoting agent for 20, years but how it acts on the hair follicle is unclear.  Understanding how these drugs work should enable the development of better hair growth promoting treatments.
Suggestions of how Minoxidil works include acting indirectly on the blood supply or directly on the growth of hair follicle cells. All these hair growth-promoting drugs open specific channels in cell membranes called ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channels. KATP channels control the flow of potassium ions across cell membranes in many tissues in the bodyto regulate processes, such as insulin secretion in the pancreas or sugar uptake in muscle.

This project’s experiments so far indicate that Minoxidil acts directly on certain sub-types of potassium channels within hair follicles themselves. Now that this is known, it may be possible to develop new drugs that act either alone or in combination with Minoxidil to stimulate greater human hair growth than the drug alone.
The results of this research have been published in the peer-reviewed journal FASEB. Professor Randall and Dr Farjo have presented this work at numerous scientific congresses including a featured speaker at the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery meeting in September 2007 in Las Vegas invited by the program chairman after liaising with Drs Farjo.
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