Alopecia is divided into two categories: androgenic alopecia and nonandrogenic alopecia. An androgen-dependent abnormality of biological functions causes alopecia in males, but the role of androgens is not yet elucidated in female pattern hair loss (FPHL). Modulation of androgenic activity is not effective in certain kinds of androgenic alopecia in females, as well as in cases of nonandrogenic alopecia in males and females. The hair growth drug, minoxidil, stimulates vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) production as well as vascularization and hair growth in females. Yet, because minoxidil has side effects with long-term use, a safe alternative hair growth agent is needed. Whereas hair develops after birth in mammalian species, hair mostly grows in a precocial bird, in the chicken, between hatching days 14 and 15. Therefore, we hypothesized that the chicken egg contains a key hair growth factor. In this study, we demonstrated that water-soluble peptides derived from the egg yolk stimulate VEGF production and human hair follicle dermal papilla cell growth. We also found that these peptides enhance murine hair growth and improve hair growth in FPHL. Finally, we characterized that water-soluble egg yolk peptides induce VEGF expression through insulin growth factor-1 receptor activation-induced hypoxia-inducible factor-1α transcription pathway. We have given the name "hair growth peptide (HGP)" to this water-soluble egg yolk peptide.
Keywords: IGF-1 receptor; VEGF; alopecia; chicken egg; female pattern hair loss.