Role of PPAR gamma in cicatricial alopecia under investigation

March 1, 2011

Research into cicatricial alopecia (CA) continues to elucidate the pivotal role of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) gamma, according to an expert.

Key Points

National report - Research into cicatricial alopecia (CA) continues to elucidate the pivotal role of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) gamma, according to an expert.

"The upregulated pathways included inflammatory and cell-death pathways, which was not surprising because these conditions are inflammatory," Dr. Price says. "However, unexpected findings were some of the downregulated pathways, including multiple genes in the lipid pathway: fatty acid beta-oxidation, fatty acid desaturation, cholesterol biosynthesis and peroxisome biogenesis. Among the down-regulated genes in LPP was a significant decrease of the transcription factor PPAR gamma. This is a 'master regulator' of genes for both inflammation and lipid metabolism in the hair follicle and sebaceous gland."

"These mice developed scarring alopecia," which suggested that PPAR gamma is crucial for healthy pilosebaceous units and that the loss of this function triggers the pathogenesis of LPP (Karnik P, Tekeste Z, McCormick TS, et al. J Invest Dermatol. 2009;129(5):1243-1257. Epub 2008 Dec 4), Dr. Price says.

She says, however, that triggers for initiating this loss - such as environmental, genetic, microbial or dietary factors - remain unknown.