Scientists at the Monasterium Laboratory have discovered that human hair follicles sense their environment and this research has helped support the launch of Bioscalin® Signal Revolution for hair fall, by research sponsor Giuliani.

Together with professor Ralf Paus from the University of Miami and professor Hanns Hatt from Ruhr-University of Bochum, the team at Monasterium Laboratory revealed that human hair follicles express a specific olfactory (smell) receptor called OR2AT4, which is more usually associated with detecting odours and perfumes.

Importantly for hair research, the team discovered that when this olfactory receptor is stimulated in hair follicle organ culture, the follicles produced more insulin growth factor-1, an important growth factor involved in maintaining hair growth.

The ligand used to stimulate this hair follicle olfactory receptor is Sandalore®, a synthetic mimic of natural sandalwood oil and is commonly used in skin and haircare products, as well as in some drinks worldwide.

These research results led the scientists at Monasterium and the Italian sponsor of this research Giuliani to wonder whether the activation of OR2AT4 could be a promising cosmeceutical or pharmaceutical strategy for treating hair growth disorders. As a direct result, in 2016 Giuliani added Bioscalin® Signal-Revolution for hair fall to its haircare range.

Lead scientist Jérémy Chéret said: “This is a big accomplishment for my scientific career, and I am grateful for the opportunity to work on the project from the beginning to the end, I really enjoyed it”.

Chief scientific officer at Monasterium Laboratory Marta Bertolini commented, “This is a great achievement that strengthens our credibility as an innovation company.

“I am grateful to all of the people participating in the project, especially to professor Paus who has led the project and to Giuliani for the funding. I believe this discovery is the beginning of a new treatment era for hair follicle-related disorders”.

Sponsor Giuliani commented: “We are thrilled to work with such a strong team at Monasterium Laboratory. We believe that the research on the olfactory receptors will be a game changer in the hair biology field”.

All of the research behind this innovation has now been published in Nature communications under ‘Jérémy Chéret, Marta Bertolini, Leslie Ponce, Janin Lehmann, Teresa Tsai, Majid Alam, Hanns Hatt, Ralf Paus – Hair follicles engage in chemosensation: olfactory receptor OR2AT4 regulates human hair growth’.