Scientists have found mechanisms in the human body that cause the appearance of gray hair and baldness. Dr. Liu Li of the University of Texas, along with colleagues engaged in the study of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a genetic disease predisposing to the formation of tumors in humans. The aim of the study was to identify the mechanisms of growth of tumors in NF1. Instead, the researchers identified the processes responsible for hair loss and gray hair, writes likar.info.
According to the American Association against hair loss at age 35 about 2/3 of the people face partial or total hair loss, 40% of this number were women. As for gray, in 2012, the study showed that approximately 6% to 23% of people around the world turning gray at least half to 50 years.
Despite the fact that hair loss and grey hair are considered a normal part of the aging process, for some people it becomes a real problem. Dr. Lee and his colleagues believe that their discovery will pave the way for new treatments for gray hair and baldness.
Scientists have determined that hair follicles contain stem cells that play a pivotal role in hair production, as a protein called niche stem cell (NSC), is involved in pigmentation of hair.
In their study, Dr. Lee and his team discovered that once the stem cells are moved to the base of hair follicles, a protein called KROX20, which plays a role in the development of the nervous system, is activated in skin cells, which form the so-called progenitor cells of the hair. When KROX20 is activated, the precursor cells of hair produce SCF, which is critical for hair pigmentation.
Thanks to experiments on mice, scientists have discovered that abnormalities in KROX20 and SCF play a significant role in hair loss and graying of hair.
Despite the fact that this project was initiated to determine the mechanisms of formation of certain types of tumors, scientists were able to determine the cause of the graying and determine the cells responsible for hair growth. Due to this discovery may be new methods for the prevention of baldness and the appearance of gray hair.