STATES CHRONICLE – A team of researchers from the Southwestern Medical Center of University of Texas accidentally discovered which cells caused hair to turn gray and fall down. While they looked at how cancer affected nerve cells, they discovered the cause of this phenomenon, which they might use to stop balding and hair graying.
Proteins from skin cells influence hair color and structure
The study was published in the journal Genes & Development. Researchers discovered how skin cells which produce hair contained a protein called KROX20. The cells also produce stem cell factors, which is the protein responsible with hair pigmentation and structure.
They performed several experiments on mice, where they removed the stem cell factors from their cells. This caused their hair to turn white. Afterwards, they removed the KROX20, and observed how the mice started losing more hair, and it did not start growing back.
A cancer research provided the solution for hair loss
Initially, the researchers wanted to see how tumors affect nerves. However, they ended up finding out why hair turned gray and which cell was directly responsible with hair growth. Now, researchers want to see if the same cells are active in humans. If they discover the same proteins and cells which influence the growth and pigmentation of hair, they might develop a cure for baldness and hair graying.
Both stem cell factors and the KROX20 protein are produced at the base of the hair follicle. Then, they start moving upwards and interacting with melanocytes, which gives hair its color. If the stem cell factor is removed, the hair starts turning gray and, after a few days, it becomes completely white. Also, the removal of KROX20 stops hair growth completely.
Therefore, researchers discovered that hair loss might be prevented if they interact with the skin cells which produce it. However, they advise people not to neglect their hair and keep it as healthy as possible. Always use shampoo and conditioner which is suitable for your hair, and wash it as soon as it turns oily.
Image Source: Max Pixel