Platelet-Rich Plasma Boosts Hair Growth in Alopecia Areata

April 30, 2013

By David Douglas

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Apr 30 - Alopecia areata, inflammation-induced hair loss, improved more with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) than with triamcinolone acetonide in a recent trial.

"We have shown (that) PRP maintains and prolongs the active phase of hair cycle (anagen) in dermal papilla," Dr. Fabio Rinaldi, senior member of the study team, told Reuters Health by email. Among other effects, it also "can stimulate quiescent stem cells and new hair regrowth," he added.

"Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has strong proliferation-inducing effects, and also contains various growth factors and immunologic modulators, that could be beneficial also for many skin and hair diseases like alopecia areata, androgenetic alopecia and other hair-loss disorders," Dr. Rinaldi said.

As reported online in the British Journal of Dermatology April 22nd, Dr. Rinaldi of the International Hair Research Foundation, Milan and colleagues randomly assigned 45 patients (mean age, 28) to receive intralesional injections of PRP, triamcinolone acetonide or placebo in one lesion on one half of the scalp. The other half of the scalp was untreated. Patients received three treatments at one-month intervals.

The treating physicians were aware of patients' assignment, but "the results were evaluated by three independent dermatologists (who) did not know which treatment each subject had," Dr. Rinaldi said.

Both PRP and triamcinolone prompted significant hair regrowth compared to placebo. Both active treatments also led to greater regrowth than was seen in the untreated area.

At six months, none of the PRP patients showed relapse, although 38% in the triamcinolone group had relapsed. At 12 months, significantly more PRP patients had achieved complete remission compared to triamcinolone patients (60% vs 27%).

The results are promising. However, say the investigators, "further controlled and randomized studies are needed to validate our findings in a larger cohort of patients."

Dr. Rinaldi's group has no plans for further trials in alopecia areata patients at the moment but does plan to study PRP in scar alopecia from lichen plano pilaris, he said.

Since 2007, he observed, they have investigated the approach in many skin diseases and in more than 3000 patients suffering from hair loss due to different disorders. "Treatment with autologous (own blood) PRP is safe and has never been described to have side effects," he said.


Br J Dermatol 2013.