Medline ® Abstract for Reference 9
of 'Female pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia in women): Pathogenesis, clinical features, and diagnosis'
Androgenetic alopecia in women.
J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc. 2003;8(1):24.
Androgenetic alopecia (AGA), also known in women as female pattern hair loss, is caused by androgens in genetically susceptible women and men. The thinning begins between ages 12 and 40 years, the inheritance pattern is polygenic, and the incidence is the same as in men. In susceptible hair follicles, dihydrotestosterone binds to the androgen receptor, and the hormone-receptor complex activates the genes responsible for the gradual transformation of large terminal follicles to miniaturized follicles. Both young women and young men with AGA have higher levels of 5alpha reductase and androgen receptor in frontal hair follicles compared to occipital follicles. At the same time, young women have much higher levels of cytochrome p-450 aromatase in frontal follicles than men who have minimal aromatase, and women have even higher aromatase levels in occipital follicles. The diagnosis of AGA in women is supported by early age of onset, the pattern of increased thinning over the frontal/parietal scalp with greater density over the occipital scalp, retention of the frontal hairline, and the presence of miniaturized hairs. Most women with AGA have normal menses and pregnancies. Extensive hormonal testing is usually not needed unless symptoms and signs of androgen excess are present such as hirsutism, severe unresponsive cystic acne, virilization, or galactorrhea. Topical minoxidil solution is the only drug available for promoting hair growth in women with AGA. Efficacy has been shown in double-blind studies using hair counts and hair weight.
University of California San Francisco, Department of Dermatology, San Francisco, California 94117, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org