Rapamycin, Autophagy and Hair Growth (New Paper)

From Chris Linnel on twitter:

Could rapamycin be used to combat hair loss? According to this study in mice, activating autophagy in hair follicle stem cells via rapamycin leads to initiating the hair follicle cycle and promoting hair follicle regeneration

Autophagy induces hair follicle stem cell activation and hair follicle regeneration by regulating glycolysis

Recent studies have shown that ɑ-ketoglutarate (ɑ-KG) and ɑ-ketobutyrate (ɑ-KB), as well as the prescription drugs rapamycin and metformin, increase follicle autophagy by affecting mTOR and AMPK signaling, thereby facilitating early entry of hair follicles into anagen [9]. Parodi et al. used an in vitro human hair follicle organ culture model to demonstrate that anti-hair loss products with autophagy- promoting effects could significantly induce autophagy in hair follicle cells and prolong hair follicle anagen [10]. However, the effects of autophagy on the metabolism and function of HFSCs during the hair follicle cycle remain unclear. Understanding the mechanism of autophagy in HFSC metabolism is important for the treatment and prevention of hair loss resulting from HFSC activation failure.

In this study, we measured autophagy in HFSC during different hair follicle cycle stages and investigated its effects on the hair follicle cycle and HFSCs. We also investigated the effects and mechanisms of autophagy on HFSC metabolism, and whether autophagy affects HFSC function and the hair follicle cycle by regulating cellular metabolism.

Autophagy in HFSC was highest during the transition from telogen to anagen. Inhibiting autophagy with 3-MA led to early entry into catagen and prolonged telogen, whereas Rapa promoted autophagy and hair growth. Autophagy activated HFSC by increasing the expression and activity of HFSC lactate dehydrogenase (Ldha), thereby transforming HFSC metabolism into glycolysis. Inhibition of Ldha expression counteracted the effects of autophagy.


Autophagy activated HFSC by promoting the transition from HFSC metabolism to glycolysis, ultimately initiating the hair follicle cycle and promoting hair growth.

Hair Growth with Rapamycin Treatment

Treatment Procedure


Full (Open Access) Paper:

Related Reading:

Here: Rapamycin for Hair Growth and Hair Pigmentation

Here: Rapamycin-Loaded Microneedles Reverse Hair Loss in Mice

Here: Topical rapamycin hair growth regimen