Claudiu T. Supuran and colleagues explain that dandruff involves an excessive shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp. In people without dandruff, it takes about 30 days for a crop of new skin cells to mature, die and shed. In people with dandruff, it may take only 2-7 days.
Irritation by the scalp-dwelling fungus Malassezia globosa (M. globosa) is one cause of dandruff. Shampoos and other dandruff treatments contain anti-fungal agents, but the authors say new medicines are badly needed since the two existing compounds are not very effective at preventing and treating dandruff.
In the quest for a better treatment, Supuran's group identified an enzyme in M. globosa that is essential for the fungus's growth. Tests showed that sulfonamides, a family of existing antibiotic medicines, were more effective in preventing the fungus's growth than ketoconazole, a widely used anti-fungal medicine that is an ingredient in certain dandruff treatments. As a result of the study, the scientists believe that the enzyme is a prime target for developing better anti-dandruff medicines.
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Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
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