Women health

Reverse gray hair permanently

  • According to a study, stem cells that become locked and stop coloring new hair development are to blame for graying hair.
  • When stem cells become trapped in one compartment, they are unable to regenerate into pigment cells. Stem cells move back and forth between compartments.
  • The continuance of pigment production and the eradication of gray hair may be made possible by restoring the cells' flexibility.

Surely we wouldn't have gray hair if our troublesome stem cells didn't eventually become stuck in one location. Really. In a recent study, headed by scientists from the Grossman School of Medicine at New York University, it was discovered that trapped melanocyte stem cells (McSCs) are unable to produce the protein required to color hair, which may be the cause of gray hair.

The scientists discovered that in a healthy situation, McSCs move across compartments of growing hair follicles using mice as the research subjects. Different compartments enable the McSCs to develop and pick up the protein needed to regenerate into pigment cells and continuously color hair as it grows. As they alternate between the compartments frequently over time, these McSCs alternate between maturity levels; this is a distinctive characteristic of the McSCs.

However, occasionally, the McSCs can become immobilized in the hair follicle bulge compartment and unable to return to the germ compartment, where the WNT proteins promote the cells to regenerate into pigment cells. Getting stuck results in gray hair because there are no pigment cells.

According to a news release from Mayumi Ito, senior investigator for the study and professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology and Department of Cell Biology at NYU Langone Health, "it has been the loss of chameleon-like function in melanocyte stem cells that may be responsible for graying and loss of hair color." These results indicate that melanocyte stem cell motility and reversible differentiation are essential for maintaining healthy and colored hair.

In simple terms, if the McSCs can continue moving—or, if they become stuck, we can somehow help them get unstuck—we can anticipate more diverse heads of hair over the globe.

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