Soon or later, we all have a gray hair. Those who are more unlucky may face with baldness too. Reasonably, we connected these issues as a natural part of the process of aging. Scientists for decades struggle to find the underlying biological cause, although, genetic factors appear to play the strongest role in determining when your hair begins to lose its color.

When researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center began to explore how certain tumors form, they unexpectedly ended up learning why hair turns gray. They discover the identity of the cell that directly gives rise to hair, opening new possibilities for treatments for balding and hair graying.

Changeability Of Protein Into Skin Cells

There is a protein called KROX20, which is produced in specific cells within each individual hair follicle and primarily is related to nerve development. While scientists were already aware of the general science of hair growth and hair pigmentation, they didn’t know what happens when cells move down to the base of hair follicles, which cells make stem cell factor and the involvement of KROX20.

So, they tested in mice effects of KROX20 removal and found that they lost all their hair and went bald. On the other side, researchers noticed that KROX20 switches in skin cells that become a hair shaft, which then causes cells to produce another protein called stem cell factor (SCF). This SCF protein is needed to support the mature pigment-producing cells in the hair follicle. If it is not produced the mice lose their hair color and become white.

Stem cells in a bulge area of hair follicles produce SCF which determine whether our hair color turns gray or not.

Gray hair and its loss are among the first signs of aging and results of this study providing a deeper answer on this matter. Led researcher Dr. Lu Le hopes with this knowledge they will be able in future to create a safely deliver the necessary gene to hair follicles to correct these cosmetic problems. Before this happens, the team will try to find out if the KROX20 in cells and the SCF gene stop working properly as people age, as well as their role in male pattern baldness.