Minoxidil enhances hair growth by prolonging the anagen phase and induces new hair growth in androgenetic alopecia (AGA), whereas retinol significantly improves scalp skin condition and promotes hair growth. We investigated the combined effects of minoxidil and retinol on human hair growth in vitro and on cultured human dermal papilla cells (DPCs) and epidermal keratinocytes (HaCaT). The combination of minoxidil and retinol additively promoted hair growth in hair follicle organ cultures. In addition, minoxidil plus retinol more effectively elevated phosphorylated Erk, phosphorylated Akt levels, and the Bcl-2/Bax ratio than minoxidil alone in DPCs and HaCaT. We found that the significant hair shaft elongation demonstrated after minoxidil plus retinol treatment would depend on the dual kinetics associated with the activations of Erk- and Akt-dependent pathways and the prevention of apoptosis by increasing the Bcl-2/Bax ratio.
2007 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan