One earlier, the other a little later. But at some point this happens to everyone: their hair turns gray. Until now, it has not been clear what causes this phenomenon, which is why a small group of researchers from New York University addressed the topic in a study. They published their results in Nature science magazine.
Mice in the test: The fur also turns gray over time
Hair is given an individual color by pigment cells (melanocytes). These cells gather at the root of the hair and give it its color as it grows. This process is suspended in gray hair, but what is the reason? To find out why cells stop working, researchers conducted a long-term study on mice. They observed the animals’ hair growth over the course of two years, focusing on growth around the hair root and the hair itself.
Studies have revealed that melanocytes, unlike other stem cells, are able to change the direction of their development. “Our results show that most melanocyte stem cells switch between an undifferentiated stem cell state and an intermediate state, the so-called transit-amplifying state.” Science.de Researchers. The scientists noticed that some of the cells retreated shortly before their target at the hair root, which meant that they were not able to give the hair root any color.
The study can be a starting point for treatment
However, investigations do not reveal why the cells stop growing. However, researchers believe that stress could be one of the main causes. The research group hypothesizes that hair graying could be treated in the future: “The newly discovered mechanisms raise the possibility that the problem in humans also lies in the adhesion of melanocyte stem cells. If we help these cells move again, this could prevent or even reverse graying.” the hair.
However, further examinations are necessary before initial treatments.
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