Hair Grays Too Soon If Immune Events Shift Gene Expression

Lynette PayneMay 07, 2018

"The stem cells we study are the melanocyte stem cells in the hair follicle, which are the stem cells that are essential for producing melanocytes". Publishing May 3 in the open access journal PLOS Biology, researchers at the National Institutes of Health and the University of Alabama, Birmingham have discovered a connection between the genes that contribute to hair color and the genes that notify our bodies of a pathogenic infection. "We like to study gray hair because it's an easy read-out of melanocyte stem cell dysfunction." . The experts discovered a connection between the genes that trigger immune response and the regulation of hair and skin color.

William Payan at the National Institutes of Health and Melissa Harris at the University of Alabama, both in the United States, have now discovered that in addition to its role in melanin production MITF acts as an off-switch for certain genes involved in immune activity.

The team surmise that this might shed light on what causes premature graying of hair, and they continue to pursue this question.

"This discovery suggests that genes controlling pigmentation of hair and skin, are also involved in the management of the immune system", - quotes the portal Science Daily William's Pavane, one of the authors of the study.

The authors of the study stated that when a body is under attack from a virus the innate immune system kicks in to fight it. Cells in the body have the ability to detect any type of foreign invader and the respond by producing interferon, which are signaling molecules.

Scientists focused on a special type of stem cells in the hair called melanocytes.

Interferons signal other cells to take action by turning on the expression of genes that inhibit viral replication, activate immune effector cells, and increase host defenses. Neither situation stopped the gray hair from setting in. "We are interested in genes that affect how our stem cells are maintained over time".

As a result, the newly grown hair no longer has its natural color; instead, it gets gray or white. UAB researchers found that MITF proteins may block the production of a virus-killing protein called interferon. Vitiligo, which causes discolored skin patches, affects 0.5% to 1% of all humans.

The study found that, although MITF is most commonly associated with regulating the numerous functions within melanocytes, it also helps control the melanocytes' interferon response.

The researchers explained that innate immune activation has a negative effect on melanocytes, which underlies the connection between viral infection and hair graying.

However, a new a new study shows that getting gray hair may stem from something being wrong in a person's immune system.

Related Articles:



« Previous article
Next article »


Popular Pages

Watch Childish Gambino Debut Another New Song, 'Saturday', On Saturday Night Live
Hosts and musicians have also been announced for the following weeks: May 12 - Amy Schumer takes over SNL with Kacey Musgraves. As for Glover's musical career, Childish Gambino will be heading on a 19-date North American tour.

Tony Bellew Admits He Urged David Haye to Retire
Haye was the busier fighter in the first two rounds, outjabbing Bellew and looking like he's fully recovered from his injuries. Moments later, it was a smashing left hook to the jaw that sent "The Hayemaker" to the canvas.

CSU police release video, audio of alleged racial profiling incident on campus
Gray said she is mostly upset with the campus tour guide, who apparently didn't notice that police officers led her two sons away. CSU noted that a parent who was part of the campus tour felt nervous being around the two boys and called police, CNN noted .

Indian techie's death convict gets life sentence
While Purinton would be eligible for parole in 50 years, he was likely to spend the rest of his life in prison. He was asked to leave but eventually returned and yelled "Get out of my country!" before firing at the men.

Easy victory for Kings XI
But he remained undaunted with his approach, concentrating on running hard between the wickets and taking the game close. Considering the current form of KXIP batsmen, and the ground being small, a score of at least around 200 is expected.

John McCain Reportedly Wants Obama at His Funeral But Not Trump
Flattery secures his friendship, criticism his enmity". "I'm not sure what to make of President Trump's convictions". McCain ran and lost against Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential race. " He's not a war hero ", Trump said.

Dodgers' Maeda gets no-decision in Mexico Series
The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres meet Sunday in Major League Baseball action at Nuevo León. That 1 worked out easier for Roberts, devoting baseball its second no-hitter of the season.

Chinese name change request 'Orwellian nonsense'-White House
She is skeptical of closer ties between authoritarian China and Taiwan, which has been a democracy since the 1990s. The latest to do so was the Dominican Republic, which switched its allegiance to Beijing this week.

Lava destroys 9 homes on Hawaii's Big Island
Russell Ruderman said he's experienced many earthquakes, but the magnitude-5.4 temblor that hit first "scared the heck out of me". Kilauea hasn't been the kind of volcano that shoots lava from its summit into the sky, causing widespread destruction.

WATCH Protests Held in Paris Amid Macron's Inauguration Anniversary 'Holiday'
LFI leader Jean-Luc Melenchon said Saturday that many French people wanted to see "deep societal change". This was reported in Twitter of the left party "Unconquered France", which organized the demonstration.