Safety and efficacy analysis of liposomal insulin-like growth factor-1 in a fluid gel formulation for hair-loss treatment in a hamster model

Clin Exp Dermatol. 2012 Dec;37(8):909-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2230.2012.04441.x. Epub 2012 Aug 27.


Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 has shown some interesting results in studies examining its use as a hair-loss treatment. IGF-1 works by regulating cellular proliferation and migration during the development of hair follicles. Hepatotoxicity and myelotoxicity were evaluated in hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) after topical application of the liquid gel vehicle (placebo), 1% IGF-1 or 3% IGF-1. No significant difference in the levels of aspartate aminotransferase or alanine aminotransferase was found between the control and treated groups. ELISA did not shown any increase in the plasma level of IGF-1. A haematopoietic niche was found, but it was not associated with myelotoxicity. Efficacy was determined by dermatoscopy analysis of hair density and microscopy analysis of hair diameter, with hair found to be thicker and with more rapid growth in the 3% group than in either the 1% group or the control group. These results strongly suggest that liposomal IGF-1 in a liquid gel formulation is a safe and efficient treatment for hair loss.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Alanine Transaminase / metabolism
  • Alopecia / drug therapy*
  • Animals
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / metabolism
  • Cricetinae
  • Gels
  • Hair / drug effects
  • Hair / growth & development*
  • Hair Follicle / drug effects
  • Hair Follicle / growth & development*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / adverse effects
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / pharmacology*
  • Models, Animal
  • Skin / drug effects


  • Gels
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase