Observations on the Laron syndrome originally offered the opportunity to explore the effect of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) deficiency on human hair growth and differentiation. According to its expression in the dermal hair papilla, IGF-1 is likely involved in reciprocal signaling. It has been shown to affect follicular proliferation, tissue remodeling, and the hair growth cycle, as well as follicular differentiation, identifying IGF-1 signaling as an important mitogenic and morphogenetic regulator in hair follicle biology. Of all the cytokines or growth factors that have been postulated to play a role in hair follicles, ultimately IGF-1 is known to be regulated by androgens. Accordingly, dermal papillary cells from balding scalp follicles were found to secrete significantly less IGF-1 than their counterparts from nonbalding scalp follicles. Herein, hypotrichosis in primary growth hormone deficiency, and a lack of response of female and male androgenetic-type alopecia to treatment with topical minoxidil and oral finasteride in patients who had undergone surgical resection of the pituitary gland, provide further evidence for an effect of IGF-1 on hair growth and alopecia.
Keywords: Androgenetic alopecia; Growth hormone deficiency; Hypophysectomy; Hypotrichosis; IGF-1; Laron syndrome.