An ingredient used to cook McDonald’s french fries could help prevent baldness. A study from Yokohama National University found a chemical added to the cooking oil used to fry McDonald’s fries could stimulate hair growth for humans.
Researchers were able to produce mass quantities of hair follicle germs (HFG) and were able to see new hair growth on mice after transplanting the HFGs. A chemical known as dimethylpolysiloxane was used during the process, and it’s also used to stop cooking oil from frothing while frying McDonald’s fries.
Preparation and production of HFGs is a delicate process in the world of hair regenerative medicine, and being able to produce mass numbers of HFGs has been challenging. Junji Fukuda, a professor of engineering at Yokohama and the study’s co-author, said using dimethylpolysiloxane stimulated the successful growth the researchers were able to produce.
“The key for the mass production of HFGs was a choice of substrate materials for culture vessel,” Fukuda said in a press release. “We used oxygen-permeable dimethylpolysiloxane (PDMS) at the bottom of the culture vessel and it worked very well.”
The researchers made sure the method of implanting the HFGs was feasible by transferring prepared HFGs from an “HFG chip,” or a large concentration of HFGs, in order to produce the hair and hair follicles on the bodies of the mice. After transplantation, hair growth was seen at both the transplant sites and the scalp.
The technique suggests a possible treatment for hair loss by mass preparation of HFGs. The study estimated about 5,000 HFGs were prepared within the chip and assisted through a strong oxygen supply, and that humans could benefit from the process as well.
“This simple method is very robust and promising. We hope that this technique will improve human hair regenerative therapy to treat hair loss such as androgenic alopecia,” Fukuda said. “In fact, we have preliminary data that suggests human HFG formation using human keratinocytes and dermal papilla cells.”
Tori Linville is a freelance writer and editor from Clarksville, Tennessee. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she’s faithfully watching her alma mater, the University of Alabama, dominate the football field.