01 May 2012
In order to investigate and evaluate the effects of red deer antlers on hair growth in the full-thickness wound healing model, Sprague-Dawley rats were given incision wounds through the full thickness of their dorsal skin and deer antler was applied for 40 days. At specified intervals thereafter (4, 8, 16, 32 and 40 days), the animals were sacrificed and the wound site skins were excised, processed, and sectioned. At post-injury days 16, 32 and 40, longer and more active new hair appeared around the healing wound of antler-treated skin. Histological studies showed that the antler extract markedly increases the depth, size, and number of hair follicles. Expression of IGF-I (insulin-like growth factor) mRNA was detected by RT-PCR and real time RT-PCR. The result showed that the expression of IGF-I (days 16, 32, and 40) was obviously up-regulated in antler-treated skins compared to control skins. Similar results were seen in the ELISA analysis to quantify the IGF-I expression. These results support the notion that wound healing can cause hair growth by enhancing the expression of IGF-I. Deer antler extract appears to have the potential to promote hair growth and could be used in hair growth products.