Alopecia Universalis

Hair regrowth in alopecia universalis disease patient transplanted with human
allogeneic umbilical cord stem cell therapy.

Alopecia universalis is one of autoimmune disease to target the hair follicles, impact on quality of life due to hair loss. We have tried to treat human mesenchymal stem cell (hMSC) from whaton’s jelly of umbilical cords to alopecia universalis patient. Clinical data demonstrated that patients with alopecia universalis disease improved hair regrowth and quality of life after treatment of hMSC. Result shows the safety and efficacy of stem cell therapy for the treatment of alopecia universalis.

This innovative approach produced lasting improvement in hair regrowth in subjects with moderate or severe alopecia universalis.

Patient & Method

A 20-year-old patient, patient’s history revealed total body hair loss, including eyebrows and eyelashes, occurring suddenly 12 years previously, diagnosed as alopecia universalis. At that time she was healthy, denied exposures to toxins.

The family history was negative for autoimmune disease and leukemia.

On the 60th day hair started to grow on her upper and side of head (Fig 2A. B.). Eyebrows and eyelashes grew back. On 100th and 120th day hair started to grow on the top of her head (Fig 2C, D). On the 100th day after transplantation she was in good health with normal blood counts.

Figure 2. A. before hMSC treatment B. 60days after hMSC treatment C. 100days after hMSC treatment D. 120days after hMSC treatment.

Results

The hMSCs have to adhere to plastic, express specific cell surface antigens, and exhibit multipotent differentiation potential. The cells displayed a typical spindle shaped fibroblast-like appearance as shown in Figure 1A and flow cytometric analysis shows the cell surface expression of CD markers as shown in Figure 1B. The cells were found to be 4−/CD45−/CD73+/CD90+/CD105+ as depicted in Figure 1B.

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Conclusion

Replacing the recipient’s immune system by the allogeneic graft might restore normal lymphocyte ontogeny. Post transplantation immunosuppressive therapy with cyclosporine might also contribute. Umbilical cord stem cell transplant is currently under investigation as a treatment for severe autoimmune disease. Allogeneic and, more frequently, autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (HSCT) is used. Durable responses have been reported in patients receiving allogeneic and autologous HSCT. These observations as well as this case report all suggest the possibility of treating autoimmune diseases by eradication of autoreactive cells.

Long-lasting alopecia universalis is considered to be irreversible, and there is no established treatment. Alopecia areata and alopecia universalis may respond to immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory treatment, but confirmed treatment is not exists so far. Complete recovery of alopecia universalis after allogeneic umbilical cord stem cell transplant adds evidence to the autoimmune disease hypothesis of alopecia. Moreover, this case shows alopecia universalis to be a reversible condition.