Scientists Discover Explanation for Baldness and Graying Hair

Hair Structure
Hair Structure

Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center accidentally stumbled upon the explanation for baldness and graying hair in mouse models. While studying a rare genetic disease that causes tumors to grow on nerves, they found that a protein called KROX20 switches on skin cells that become a hair shaft, which then causes cells to produce another protein called stem cell factor. In mice, two proteins turned out to be important for baldness and graying. When researchers deleted the cells that produce KROX20, mice stopped growing hair and eventually went bald; when they deleted the SCF gene, the animals’ hair turned white.

With this knowledge, we hope in the future to create a topical compound or to safely deliver the necessary gene to correct these cosmetic problems. UT Southwestern researchers will now try to find out if the KROX20 in cells and the SCF gene stop working properly as people age, leading to the graying and hair thinning seen in older people, as well as in male pattern baldness.

The research also could provide answers to as to why we age in general as hair graying and hair loss are among the first signs of aging.


Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s