Pathogenesis of androgenetic alopecia

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2004 May;50(5):777-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2003.11.073.


Although it is universally accepted that dihydrotestosterone causes baldness, how it does so is not well understood. I propose that 3 mechanisms are at work: miniaturization by a dihydrotestosterone-induced acceleration of the mitotic rate of the matrix that leaves less and less time for differentiation; an increased telogen shedding as a result of the shortening of the hair cycles that increases the telogen number per unit of time; and the increased number and duration of the lag phase or kenogen. That this last mechanism is related to dihydrotestosterone is unclear.

MeSH terms

  • Alopecia / physiopathology*
  • Dihydrotestosterone / metabolism
  • Female
  • Hair / growth & development
  • Hair / physiopathology
  • Hair Follicle / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mitosis


  • Dihydrotestosterone