Losing hair is something that we are all familiar with. The condition is benign and it does not live scars, but it can cause enormous stress for the patient. The patterns in which the condition manifests itself can be different.
The types of alopecia are:
1. diffuse alopecia areata,
2. alopecia areata monolocularis,
3. alopecia areata multilocularis,
4. alopecia areata barbae,
5. alopecia totalis
6. alopecia universalis.
Alopecia Totalis and alopecia universalis are the most severe forms of the condition, but fortunately they do not occur very often. Alopecia areata totalis is total loss of hair on the scalp and alopecia areata universalis is the loss of hair over the entire scalp and body. The condition lives you without eyelashes, eyebrows and nose hair so you become unprotected from dust, bacteria, sun and many other harmful elements. It is not the way that most people would think of hair. Alopecia Universalis may be short-termed or remain permanently. It’s always possible that the hair will grow back, even for those with 100% hair loss over many years, but it is not possible to predict when regrowth will occur.
This condition does not cause you to get sick, because the patients affected with alopecia are usually healthy. Many patients with Alopecia Universalis are born with some hair but begin losing it very quickly. The disorder is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait that is caused by a mutation in a gene dubbed HR in chromosome band 8p21.2 -- the human version of the gene that is responsible for hairlessness in mice. It is very likely the disease is genetically predetermined but there were no enough studies to confirm it. Additional causes that can trigger the disease are not familiar.
The study that involved a family affected with alopecia showed that it can be hereditary, because three consecutive generations had it. Children with the disease were without any inflammatory processes that could inhibit hair growth . Research showed very few hair follicles, they were born without eyebrows or eyelashes, without any hair in general and never developed them, it also contained analysis of the chromosomes of seven affected members from the family that had this condition in order to detect any genetic similarities that would show that the disease is genetically predetermined. They found a marker at the location 8p12, persistent in all seven family members, but they were not able to determine the exact gene that was at this location.
There were also researches that involved experiments with mice. The good thing is that they found several examples of alopecia in mice. They identified a cDNA sequence that gave them the coding sequence of the human "hairless" gene. This gene is expressed in the skin and brain in humans and mice. It appears to encode a zinc-finger transcription factor. The results of the research showed that there is mutation in the "hairless" genes of all the affected individuals in the family that was studied.