The UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified the mechanism behind white hair and baldness. Thanks to the discovery, some of the effects of aging will be better understood. Also, it could lead to a treatment against these two cosmetic problems.
The discovery was born under a medical design project. The authors were studying the formation of certain types of cancer. Going forward, they identified the progenitor cells from which their hair was born and the reason they became white. The hair shaft cells contain the gene responsible for the protein KROX20, associated with the development of the nerves. This first discovery is followed by the SCF (stem cell factor) protein.
Scientists have eliminated KROX20 protein from progenitor cells of some cavities. The mice in question have become bald. They then eliminated the SCF protein from another group of cavities. In this case the hair became white. It follows that the first protein is essential for hair growth and the second for pigmentation.
Cells with their KROX20 and SCF proteins move from bulb to epidermis. Here they meet with melanocytes, cells containing melanin, pigment of skin and hair.
Following this encounter, the hair color. If proteins are lacking, the hair grows without pigmentation or grows.
With aging, the two proteins work worse. According to the authors, this may be the cause of hair loss and hair loss.