Illness or Stress can Turn Your Hair Grey

There may be all reason for greying hair including aging, but a newly discovered link between genes that contribute to hair colour and those involved in immunity and inflammation may explain why hair can turn grey in response to severe illness or stress. Hair fibres are primarily made of keratin, a long relatively colourless structural protein. In hair follicles, cells called melanocytes make the pigment melanin and transfer it to the cells that produce keratin. The melanin is then incorporated into the hair fibre. A link exists between hair pigmentation and immune responses. To find out, the researchers and their colleagues triggered an immune response in mice already predisposed to greying fur. As a result, the mice lost many melanocytes and stem cells, and grew significantly more grey hair. This new discovery suggests that genes that control pigment in hair and skin also work to control the immune system. Revealing how immune activation negatively effects stem cells, the findings help explain why a severe infection stress or inflammation, can cause some people’s hair to go grey…..Ed
Source:Cosmos / Photo: Ekaterina_Minaeva

Posted in All Stories, Ed McMahon

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