Why Hair Can Turn Grey Prematurely
Sometimes life’s sudden shocks or illnesses can turn hair gray, my mother’s turned gray over night when I was in high school, she was just 40 anni, and there was no tragedy or trauma that I knew or ever learned of, it was always a mystery.
The Big Q: How does premature graying happen?
The Big A: Scientists say new animal research may help clear up the mystery.
The mouse studies suggest there is a link between genes that contribute to hair and skin color and genes that alert the body about infections.
“This new discovery suggests that genes that control pigment in hair and skin also work to control the innate immune system,” said study co-author William Pavan.
“These results may enhance our understanding of hair graying,” he said. Dr. Pavan is chief of genetic disease research at the US National Human Genome Research Institute.
The study authors explained that when a body is under attack from a virus or bacteria, the innate immune system kicks into gear.
However, the investigators said they were surprised by the link they found between immune system activation and hair pigmentation in the mice.
The report was published on 3 May in the journal PLoS Biology.
The study could not prove a cause-and-effect relationship, and animal research often can’t be replicated in human studies.
Still, “discovering this connection will help us understand pigmentation diseases with innate immune system involvement, like vitiligo,” Dr. Pavan said in a journal news release.
Vitiligo is a condition that causes discolored skin patches. It affects less than 1% of people.
Why rodents that are predisposed to go gray are more susceptible to changes in immune system signaling is not clear.
The researchers said they will continue their studies to address this question.
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