Quotes from the news wire:
Under both normal and stress conditions, adding Gas6 was sufficient to activate hair follicle stem cells that were in the resting phase and to promote hair growth, in the future, the Gas6 pathway could be exploited for its potential in activating stem cells to promote hair growth. It will also be very interesting to explore if other stress-related tissue changes are related to the stress hormone’s impact on regulating Gas6.
We first asked whether the stress hormone was regulating the stem cells directly and checked by taking out the receptor for corticosterone, but this turned out to be wrong. Instead, we found that the stress hormone actually acts on a cluster of dermal cells underneath the hair follicle, known as the dermal papilla, dermal papilla is known to be critical for activating hair follicle stem cells, but none of the previously identified factors secreted from dermal papilla changed when stress hormone levels were altered. Rather, the stress hormone prevented dermal papilla cells from secreting Gas6, a molecule that the researchers showed can activate the hair follicle stem cells.