Hair follicle characteristics as early marker of Type 2 Diabetes

J. Jaime Miranda, Alvaro Taype-Rondan, Jose Carlos Tapia, Maria Gabriela Gastanadui-Gonzalez, Ricardo Roman-Carpio
  • Medical Hypotheses, October 2016, Elsevier
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2016.08.009

Hair follicle as early marker of diabetes?

What is it about?

In earlier stages of the continuum of DM2-related metabolic disorders, a group of susceptible patients who do not yet meet the diagnostic criteria to be considered as persons with DM2 may present chronic vascular impairment and end organ damage. This can be evaluated to identify an early risk marker. Our hypothesis is that dysglycemic states produce vascular impairment resulting in early manifestations of injury in the hair follicle even before a DM2/prediabetes diagnosis can be made, reflected in changes in the hair characteristics: either the number of hairs/cm2, linear hair growth, percentage of anagen bulbs, hair diameter, or time to hair regrowth after teloptosis.

Why is it important?

Hair follicle manifestations of vascular impairment can be translated to an objective, simple, low-cost, minimally- or non-invasive evaluation of hyperglycemia damage providing a novel, cheap and easy-to-use tool to evaluate glycemic susceptibility and organ damage in patients before the DM2/prediabetes diagnosis can be made. If this tool is based on skin photographs, it opens the possibility of the implementation of teledermatology. This approach is especially important in geographically or economically disadvantaged populations with limited access to health services.


Dr Jose Carlos Tapia (Author)
Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia

This article describes the scientific rationale about why we can use hair follicle as an early manifestation of hyperglycemia. Also, it is focused on the benefits of an easy and low-cost tool that could be used in clinical practice and remote areas. Although this hypothesis has yet to be proved, we intent to explore new ways to improve prevention of organ damage in DM2.

The following have contributed to this page: Dr Jose Carlos Tapia