Latent, or hidden, viruses could be the cause of hair loss in women, suggests research published recently in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

In the study, researchers Hanan Polansky, PhD, and Emily H. Kestenbaum, MD, describe how certain latent viruses cause hair loss and balding. The study uses the Microcompetition Model introduced by Polansky to explain how certain latent viruses increase the expression of the 5?-reductase gene in infected individuals. Since certain latent viruses are the cause of hair loss, future treatments should target these viruses, they suggest, in a media release from The Center for the Biology of Chronic Disease (CBCD).

According to the study, certain viral genes compete with cellular genes for genetic resources. When someone is infected with a virus that carries such a gene, the viral gene increases the production of the 5?-reductase and the androgen receptor in the scalp of the infected individual. The increase of these proteins leads to hair loss and balding, according to the researchers.

Currently, there are no approved drugs that target latent viruses. The current antiviral drugs only target replicating viruses, or viruses that are in an active state. The CBCD recommends that people who suffer from hair loss and balding try dietary supplements that target latent viruses, or treatments that boost the immune system against latent viruses, per the release.

[Source(s): The Center for the Biology of Chronic Disease, PR Newswire]