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Wednesday, 23 November 2011


Some celebrities like George Clooney can pull off salt and pepper hair otherwise known as grey hair. But to some people grey hair is an unwelcome sign of ageing. Now a  new study has shed light and why hair turns grey, paving the way for potential treatments which can help retain hairs natural colour.

Researchers at New York University Langone medical center think that a breakdown in communication between the stem cells in hair follicles and melanocyte stem  cells may be the cause of hair turning grey.

Melanocytes are pigment producing cells which give hair its colour while follicle cells are responsible for new hair growth. Hair follicle stem cells and pigment producing melanocyte collaborate to produce coloured hair but the underlying reason why hair turns grey has been unknown.

The Scientists used a mouse model to examine  how the follicle cells and melanocytes work together to generate hair growth and give hair its colour.

They identified a signalling pathway known as Wnt-which follicle cells use to send instruction to,  and activate stem cell melanocytes. Once they receive they Wnt signal, the melanocytes starts producing pigment which gives hair its colour.
Inhibiting Wnt signalling in hair follicle stem cells inhibited both hair re-growth and prevented the melanocyte stem cell activation leading to dipigmented or grey hair in mice.

The study findings suggest manipulating the Wnt signal pathway may prevent hair turning grey and even prevent hair thinning out.
If scientists achieve this in humans [which there is a huge chance they can], Men and Women of a certain age who spend a fortune on hair dyes and hair growth creams will welcome the news happily.
What do you think of this Research?

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