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Faecal Transplant Could Treat Alopecia

Faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) has emerged as an effective treatment for patients with Clostridium difficile infection, but two new case studies indicate that FMT may also benefit people with alopecia areata.

FMT is a procedure in which faecal matter is collected from a tested donor, mixed with saline, strained, and placed in a patient to replace good bacteria that have been killed or suppressed.

Patients with alopecia areata, an autoimmune inflammatory condition of the hair follicle, currently have limited options when it comes to treatment. But two recent case studies have promoted FMT as a possible treatment option.

One case involved a 38-year-old man with alopecia universalis and recurrent Clostridium difficile infection. The patient’s infection was resolved after FMT treatment, but he also reported new hair growth at a follow-up appointment eight weeks later.

While steroid injections had previously been unsuccessful at treating the patient’s hair loss, he was not undergoing any treatment at the time of the regrowth. Three years after receiving FMT, the patient still has hair growth on his arms, face and scalp.

The second case involved a 20-year-old man with ileocolic Crohn’s disease and alopecia universalis. Five recurrent courses of antibiotics did not resolve his Clostridium difficile infection, but FMT proved successful. After FMT, the patient’s hair loss improved from stage S4b (95–99% hair loss) to stage S2 (25–49% hair loss).

The patient’s hair loss had previously been treated with intralesional corticosteroid injections, but these had been ineffective. He received two injections to his scalp after undergoing the FMT treatment; however, the patient reported hair growth on not just his scalp, but also on other parts of his body.

The outcomes of these cases suggest that FMT not only has an intestinal effect but can also produce a profound immunological response. Further study of gut microbiota in patients with autoimmune alopecia may provide evidence to support clinical trials of FMT in this population.

Click here to learn more about recent research in dermatology.


MPR. (22 September, 2017.) Hair Regrowth in Alopecia Patients After Fecal Transplant for Recurrent CDI. Haymarket Media, Inc.

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