The process involved culturing altered human cells within tissue from the circumcised foreskins of newborns and grafting the resulting structures on to the backs of mice, the Age reported.
Previous studies have found that adult rodent dermal papillae, which control hair follicle growth, can be grown in the laboratory, transplanted into recipient skin and made to trigger new hair follicles and fibres.
However, it has taken more than four decades to achieve a similar feat using laboratory-grown human hair follicle dermal cells to trigger the growth of human hair.
The breakthrough was made by a team of researchers from Columbia University in New York and Durham University in Britain when they used 3D culture conditions rather than 2D cultures to restore the hair-inducing properties of human dermal papilla cells when inserted into human foreskin.
The authors said neonatal foreskin was selected because it is non-hair bearing tissue, which would challenge the human dermal papillae that control hair follicle growth "not just to contribute to hair follicles within the skin, but rather, to fully reprogram the recipient epidermis to a follicular fate."
After six weeks of implantation, new hair follicles from five of seven donors were seen in the implanted skin.
The research is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the US.
--ANI (Posted on 21-10-2013)