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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Hair growth-promoting activity of hot water extract of Thuja orientalis

Nan-nan Zhang1, Dong Ki Park12 and Hye-Jin Park1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Konkuk University, 1 Kwayang-dong, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul 143-701, Republic of Korea

2 Cell Activation Research Institute, Konkuk University, 1 Hwayang-dong, Kwangjin-gu, Seoul 143-701, Republic of Korea

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:9  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-9

Published: 10 January 2013

Abstract

Background

Thuja orientalis has been traditionally used to treat patients who suffer from baldness and hair loss in East Asia. The present study sought to investigate the hair growth-promoting activity of T. orientalis hot water extract and the underlying mechanism of action.

Methods

After T. orientalis extract was topically applied to the shaved dorsal skin of telogenic C57BL/6 N mice, the histomorphometric analysis was employed to study induction of the hair follicle cycle. To determine the effect of T. orientalis extract on the telogen to anagen transition, the protein expression levels of β-catenin and Sonic hedgehog (Shh) in hair follicles were determined by immunohistochemistry.

Results

We observed that T. orientalis extract promoted hair growth by inducing the anagen phase in telogenic C57BL/6 N mice. Specifically, the histomorphometric analysis data indicates that topical application of T. orientalis extract induced an earlier anagen phase and prolonged the mature anagen phase, in contrast to either the control or 1% minoxidil-treated group. We also observed increases in both the number and size of hair follicles of the T. orientalis extract-treated group. Moreover, the immunohistochemical analysis reveals earlier induction of β-catenin and Shh proteins in hair follicles of the T. orientalis extract-treated group, compared to the control or 1% minoxidil-treated group.

Conclusion

These results suggest that T. orientalis extract promotes hair growth by inducing the anagen phase in resting hair follicles and might therefore be a potential hair growth-promoting agent.

Keywords:
Anagen; β-catenin; Hair follicles; Hair growth; Sonic hedgehog (Shh); Thuja orientalis