May 09, 2017 04:58 AM EDT
Graying of hair and baldness are common problems, however, the real cause and remedy are yet to be known. After tons of research, a study from UT Southwestern Medical Center might just have the right answers to this.
Researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center had conducted a study which was initially set out to study tumors. While conducting the study, they have identified the mechanism that causes hair to turn gray and the cells that directly give rise to hair.
The research team, led by DR. Lu Le, were analyzing Neurofibromatosis Type 1, a rare genetic disorder that is defined by the growth of tumors on nerves. Along the study, they accidentally found a protein called KROX20.
The KROX20 protein switches on skin cells that become a hair shaft. These hair progenitor cells then produce a protein called stem cell factor (SCF) that is essential for hair pigmentation.
The researchers tried deleting the KROX20 cells to their mouse models and found out that no hair grew in them. The team also deleted the SCF gene from the hair producing cells and saw that the mouse's hair turned white.
Data from Statistic Brain showed that there are around 35 million men and 21 million women who are experiencing hair loss in the U.S. Some of them are starting to notice it by the age of 35. The numbers of people with gray hair increased with age, so did the amount of gray hair.
According to Medical News Today, stem cells are the potential cure for baldness, but nobody has been able to produce enough of these stem cells. Hopefully, with the help from this study, the scientist will be able to cure baldness and stop the graying of hair.
Further research is still needed to fully understand if the process works similarly with humans. Dr. Le promised that with the knowledge they acquired from this study, they hope to create a topical compound or distribute the needed gene to correct these problems.
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