There are numerous situations where someone could suffer a penetrating wound. This could include a motor vehicle accident, violent crime, or even a simple slip and fall. Even though the skin heals well in many situations, hair does not typically grow on skin that has suffered a serious wound. Now, a research study shows that it could be possible to encourage hair to grow on wounded skin again, which could help people improve their overall quality of life.

A research study that was produced by the NYU school of medicine was published in Nature Communications. The study took a closer look at how skin cells talk to each other following a serious injury. Specifically, the study focused on lab noise. The researchers sought to explore the cell signals involved in the communication of fibroblasts, which are cells that secrete collagen. This is a protein that plays a significant role in maintaining both skin and hair.

The researchers honed in on a communication method that cells use to talk to each other. This communication method is known to be active when cells are growing in the womb, so they believed that by focusing on this pathway, it might be possible to encourage hair to grow again.

The results show that by focusing on this specific pathway, called the Sonic Hedgehog pathway, it is possible to encourage hair to grow on skin that has previously suffered a serious wound. This is an important discovery because there are a lot of people who suffer significant cosmetic issues following major injuries, such as traumatic accidents and burns. If their hair does not regrow evenly, it could lead to a significant quality of life issue. Now, it appears that by stimulating this pathway, it might be possible to encourage hair to grow again.

Even though this preliminary study took place in mice, it could lead to a clinical study that focuses on human patients. Then, a potential treatment option could be developed to encourage hair to regrow on wounded skin and people, presenting another treatment option for people who suffer a serious penetrating injury or major burn. It has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life of people everywhere.