Quantitative analysis of the anatomical changes in the scalp and hair follicles in androgenetic alopecia using magnetic resonance imaging

Shigeyoshi Soga, Taro Koyama, Ayako Mikoshi, Masahiro Jinzaki, Tatsuhiko Arafune, Makoto Kawashima, Kazuhiro Kobayashi, Hiroshi Shinmoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Although the structural changes of the scalp in androgenetic alopecia (AGA) have been reported, these changes have been poorly understood. It is expected that modern MRI would visualize the scalp anatomy in vivo. This study aimed to explore whether AGA causes (a) changes in the thickness of the scalp, (b) anatomical changes in the hair follicles, and (c) changes in the signal intensity of MRI. Materials and Methods: Twenty-seven volunteers underwent MRI for hair and scalp (MRH) and were categorized into two according to the Hamilton-Norwood Scale: the “AGA group” and the “normal group.” Two radiologists analyzed the thickness and signal intensity of the scalp, and the depth of hair follicles. These measurements were compared between the two groups. Results: The thickness of the hypodermis and the entire scalp was significantly thinner in the AGA group than in the control group. The AGA group had significantly shallower depth of hair follicles and relative depth of the hair follicles to that of the entire scalp than the normal group. The hypodermis showed higher signal intensity in the AGA group than the normal group. Conclusion: MRH allowed noninvasive visualization of the scalp anatomy and demonstrated the thinner nature of the entire scalp and hypodermis, along with the shallower depth of the hair follicles in the AGA group in comparison to the normal group. Additionally, MRH demonstrated the increased MR signal intensity in the scalp associated with AGA. MRH may be a promising new method for quantitative and objective analyses of AGA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-61
Number of pages6
JournalSkin Research and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan


  • alopecia
  • androgenetic alopecia
  • hair follicle
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • scalp
  • skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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