“We should expect more colourful heads of hair the world over”
Scientists have discovered why people’s hair turns grey as they age and are now looking into how to potentially reverse it.
This means that people who would like to keep their natural hair colour will be able to do so for life.
The study was carried out by New York University scientists who found that a specific stem cell is responsible for turning hair grey.
Speaking about their findings, Mayumi Ito, a senior investigator and professor in the Department of Dermatology and Department of Cell Biology at NYU, said: “It is the loss of chameleon-like function in melanocyte stems cells (McSCs) that may be responsible for greying and loss of hair colour.
“These findings suggest that melanocyte stem cell motility and reversible differentiation are key to keeping hair healthy and coloured.”
Basically, if the McSCs can keep moving, or if they get stuck and scientists can somehow encourage them to get going again “we should expect more colourful heads of hair the world over,” researchers concluded.
“Our study adds to our basic understanding of how melanocyte stem cells work to colour hair,” Qi Sun, a postdoctoral fellow at NYU Langone Health, said in a press release.
“The newfound mechanisms raise the possibility that the same fixed positioning of melanocyte stem cells may exist in humans.
“If so, it presents a potential pathway for reversing or preventing the greying of human hair by helping jammed cells to move again between developing hair follicle compartments.”
The McSCs focus on pigment-making and are different from cells responsible for hair growth, The Sun explained.
The study goes on to suggest that: “For unknown reasons, the melanocyte stem cell system fails earlier than other adult stem cell populations, which leads to hair greying in most humans and mice.”
Scientists are set to continue this research until they find a way to halt the greying of hair with age.
The next step reportedly involves looking at how to get McSCs that have been stuck down, moving again.
Once they achieve this, the stem cells will continue to create pigment and that could mean the end of greys.