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      Serum Ferritin and Vitamin D in Female Hair Loss: Do They Play a Role?

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          Abstract

          Aim: Evaluation of serum ferritin and vitamin D levels in females with chronic telogen effluvium (TE) or female pattern hair loss (FPHL), in order to validate their role in these common hair loss diseases. Methods: Eighty females (18 to 45 years old) with hair loss, in the form of TE or FPHL, and 40 age-matched females with no hair loss were included in the study. Diagnosis was based upon clinical examination as well as trichogram and dermoscopy. Serum ferritin and vitamin D<sub>2</sub> levels were determined for each participant. Results: Serum ferritin levels in the TE (14.7 ± 22.1 μg/l) and FPHL (23.9 ± 38.5 μg/l) candidates were significantly lower than in controls (43.5 ± 20.4 μg/l). Serum vitamin D<sub>2</sub> levels in females with TE (28.8 ± 10.5 nmol/l) and FPHL (29.1 ± 8.5 nmol/l) were significantly lower than in controls (118.2 ± 68.1 nmol/l; p < 0.001). These levels decreased with increased disease severity. Serum ferritin cut-off values for TE and FPHL were 27.5 and 29.4 μg/l, respectively, and those for vitamin D were 40.9 and 67.9 nmol/l. Conclusion: Low serum ferritin and vitamin D<sub>2</sub> are associated with hair loss in females with TE and FPHL. Screening to establish these levels in cases of hair loss and supplementing with them when they are deficient may be beneficial in the treatment of disease.

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          Most cited references 21

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          Deregulated expression of c-Myc depletes epidermal stem cells.

          The beta-catenin/TCF signaling pathway is essential for the maintenance of epithelial stem cells in the small intestine. c-Myc a downstream target of beta-catenin/TCF (ref. 2), can induce differentiation of epidermal stem cells in vitro. To determine the role of c-Myc in epidermal stem cells in vivo, we have targeted expression of human MYC2 to the hair follicles and the basal layer of mouse epidermis using a keratin 14 vector (K14.MYC2). Adult K14.MYC2 mice gradually lose their hair and develop spontaneous ulcerated lesions due to a severe impairment in wound healing; their keratinocytes show impaired migration in response to wounding. The expression of beta1 integrin, which is preferentially expressed in epidermal stem cells is unusually low in the epidermis of K14.MYC2 mice. Label-retaining analysis to identify epidermal stem cells reveals a 75% reduction in the number of stem cells in 3-month-old K14.MYC2 mice, compared with wildtype mice. We conclude that deregulated expression of c-Myc in stem cells reduces beta1 integrin expression, which is essential to both keratinocyte migration and stem cell maintenance.
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            Ribonucleotide reductase: regulation, regulation, regulation.

            Ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) catalyses the rate limiting step in the production of deoxyribonucleotides needed for DNA synthesis. It is composed of two dissimilar subunits, R1, the large subunit containing the allosteric regulatory sites, and R2, the small subunit containing a binuclear iron center and a tyrosyl free radical. Recent isolation of the mammalian and yeast RNR genes has shown that, in addition to the well documented allosteric regulation, the synthesis of the enzyme is also tightly regulated at the level of transcription. The mRNAs for both subunits are cell-cycle regulated and, in yeast, inducible by DNA damage. Yeast encode a second large subunit gene, RNR3, that is expressed only in the presence of DNA damage. This regulation is thought to provide a metabolic state that facilitates DNA replicational repair processes.
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              The diagnosis and treatment of iron deficiency and its potential relationship to hair loss.

              Iron deficiency is the world's most common nutritional deficiency and is associated with developmental delay, impaired behavior, diminished intellectual performance, and decreased resistance to infection. In premenopausal women, the most common causes of iron deficiency anemia are menstrual blood loss and pregnancy. In men and postmenopausal women, the most common causes of iron deficiency anemia are gastrointestinal blood loss and malabsorption. Hemoglobin concentration can be used to screen for iron deficiency, whereas serum ferritin concentration can be used to confirm iron deficiency. However, the serum ferritin concentration may be elevated in patients with infectious, inflammatory, and neoplastic conditions. Other tests may be needed, such as erythrocyte zinc protoporphyrin concentration, transferrin concentration, serum iron concentration, and transferrin saturation. The cause of iron deficiency must be identified. If the patient is male, postmenopausal female, or has risk factors for blood loss, then the patient should be evaluated for sources of blood loss, especially gastrointestinal (eg, colon cancer). Several studies have examined the relationship between iron deficiency and hair loss. Almost all have addressed women exclusively and have focused on noncicatricial hair loss. Some suggest that iron deficiency may be related to alopecia areata, androgenetic alopecia, telogen effluvium, and diffuse hair loss, while others do not. Currently, there is insufficient evidence to recommend universal screening for iron deficiency in patients with hair loss. In addition, there is insufficient evidence to recommend giving iron supplementation therapy to patients with hair loss and iron deficiency in the absence of iron deficiency anemia. The decision to do either should be based on clinical judgment. It is our practice at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation to screen male and female patients with both cicatricial and noncicatricial hair loss for iron deficiency. Although this practice is not evidence based per se, we believe that treatment for hair loss is enhanced when iron deficiency, with or without anemia, is treated. Iron deficiency anemia should be treated. Treating iron deficiency without anemia is controversial. Treatment of nutritional iron deficiency anemia includes adequate dietary intake and oral iron supplementation. Excessive iron supplementation can cause iron overload and should be avoided, especially in high-risk patients such as those with hereditary hemochromatosis. Patients who do not respond to iron replacement therapy should undergo additional testing to identify other underlying causes of iron deficiency anemia.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                SPP
                Skin Pharmacol Physiol
                10.1159/issn.1660-5527
                Skin Pharmacology and Physiology
                S. Karger AG
                1660-5527
                1660-5535
                2013
                April 2013
                20 February 2013
                : 26
                : 2
                : 101-107
                Affiliations
                Departments of aDermatology and bClinical Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt
                Author notes
                *Rania M. Abdel Hay, MD, 13th Abrag Othman, Kornish El Maadi, Cairo 11431 (Egypt), E-Mail omleila2@yahoo.com
                Article
                346698 Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2013;26:101-107
                10.1159/000346698
                23428658
                © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 3, Pages: 7
                Categories
                Original Paper

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