Blame it on your sebaceous glands.
Sebaceous glands may be at the root of shiny pates, according to University of Miami (Fla.) researchers. The glands, which are adjacent to hair follicles and produce a protective coating for the skin and scalp, are physiologically different in bald men, they found.
Some people--including bald men--suggest that baldness is a sign of virility, believing that conventional male balding is caused by an excess of testosterone. But such balding, which begins in 40 percent of men between the ages of 18 and 39, is actually the result of an increased ability to use testosterone and not an increase of testosterone per se, says Marty E. Sawaya, one of the researchers. "You're really not more virile,' she says.
Sawaya and her colleagues compared sebaceous glands in scalp samples removed from 12 balding men (aged 25 to 39) during hair transplant or scalp reduction surgery with 12 samples removed from nonbald men (aged 30 to 47) soon after death. They measured the number of testosterone receptors, which allow cells to hang on to and use testosterone, as well as the concentration of an enzyme involved in testosterone metabolism. They found that sebaceous glands from the
bald men had twice the number of testosterone receptors, and double the enzyme level of sebaceous glands from the hairy scalps.
Sawaya says the discovery alone does not suggest a treatment. That would require an understanding of what is happening at the genetic level, she says.
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|Title Annotation:||cause of baldness|
|Date:||May 17, 1986|
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