Researchers Solve Mystery Of Why Hair Turns Gray:Hot and Latest News
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Researchers Solve Mystery Of Why Hair Turns Gray

A team of from the Universities of Bradford, Mainz and Luebeck have finally solved a mystery that has perplexed humans throughout the ages: why we turn gray.

Despite the notion that is a sign of wisdom, these researchers show in a research report published online in The that wisdom has nothing to do with it. Going gray is caused by a massive build up of due to of our . The ends up blocking the normal production of melanin, our hair’s . Melanin is the pigment responsible for , as well as , and .

The researchers made this discovery by examining native hair and cells isolated from human . They found that the reduction in was the result of a complex series of events involving four different enzymes in the cells.

Firstly, the build up of in the hair was caused by a reduction in an enzyme (called ) that normally breaks up into water and oxygen and gets rid of it. They also discovered that because of low levels of other enzymes (called A and B) the could not repair the damage caused by the build up of . Further complicating matters, the build up of together with the low levels of the , disrupted the production of yet another enzyme (called tyrosinase). As tyrosinase is responsible for producing melanin the production of melanin in was very much reduced.

The researchers speculate that a similar loss of melanin could be the of vitiligo, a condition where white (de-pigmented) patches begin to appear on the skin.

Lead researcher, Schallreuter, said: “This discovery is a major breakthrough in the understanding of hair greying and opens up some to combat this scenario. These are being followed up at the in our laboratory.”

The FASEB Journal is published by the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) and is the most cited journal worldwide according to the Institute for Scientific Information. FASEB comprises 22 nonprofit societies with more than 80,000 members, making it the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States. FASEB advances biological science through collaborative advocacy for research policies that promote scientific progress and education and lead to improvements in human health.

Article details: J. M. Wood, H. Decker, H. Hartmann, B. Chavan, H. Rokos, J. D. Spencer, S. Hasse, M. J. Thornton, M. Shalbaf, R. Paus, and K. U. Schallreuter. Senile hair graying: H2O2-mediated oxidative stress affects color by blunting methionine sulfoxide repair. FASEB J. doi:10.1096/fj.08-125435.

University of Bradford

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