Graying hairs are one of the joys of getting older, leading us to fall more and more in love with hair dye. But, scientists may have found the cause of what makes our hair go gray to begin with. According to MSNBC, researchers have identified the signaling protein that coordinates the process between hair follicle stem cells, which produce hair, and color-supplying stem cells, or melanocytes.
Mayumi Ito, PhD, an assistant professor of dermatology at the New York University Langone Medical Center in New York said, “We have shown that one specific molecular pathway is necessary in the regulation of melanocyte stem cells the Wnt pathway.” He went on to explain that when the Wnt pathway is activated, the melanocytes can produce pigments that color the hair. When they inactivate, the melanocytes lose the ability to produce color, which results in gray hair.
Ito added that knowing the Wnt pathway is important in regulating pigment-producing cells, and it may “provide a new target for designing therapies for color loss and restoration.”
So, in the coming years we may have a cure for gray hairs that doesn’t require frequent dye jobs. Now if only someone could do the same thing for hair loss…