What causes gray hair?

Some of people get 30. The age of gray hair. Other with 60. Responsible for the formation of gray hair, the immune system is, as a recent study proved. According to scientists, the body attacks its own immune system with f Gene. This helps the Melanzyten in the production of the pigment Melanin, which is responsible for the color of hair, eyes and skin.

The scientists from the University of Alabama in Birmingham found in their recent study that an attack of the immune system affects a Protein in the body, which is involved in the coloring of the hair, skin and eyes. This attack causes to dye the hair start to grey. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language scientific journal “PLOS Biology”.

The graying of hair is determined by a special Gene. When this is attacked by the immune system, the result is gray hair. (Image: Jacob Lund/fotolia.com)

Immune system attacks with f-Gen

In their current study, the researchers from the University of Alabama wanted to find out why our hair will lose at the age pigments, which in turn has the gray coloring of the hair with the result. The scientists conducted a study on mice. They analyzed in particular, as the attacks of the immune system affect the so-called f-Gen. This Protein helps in the functioning of the melanocytes properly. The so called melanocytes are the Melanin cells responsible of what our eyes, skin and hair color, explain the experts.

What is the role of infections play?

After complete analysis of their investigation scientists found out that the f-Gen controls probably also the release of interferons, a Protein, the viral infections combated. The scientists had already suspected, that even an infection can have an impact on the likelihood of the emergence of gray hair.

Immune system attacks melanocytes

If there is not enough f was produced in the mice in the Experiment an Excess of interferons, which then forces the immune system to melanocytes to attack and cause the growth of non-pigmented or grey hair. The scientists is not yet known whether the observations of the current investigation can really be transferred one to one to the people. The physicians assume, however, that the results of the study could explain why some people get earlier in life grey hair.

In the case of a special predisposition, infection can cause grey hairs

If an individual is actually healthy, but a special predisposition to gray hair is present, it can be a simple virus infection is already enough to cause the decline of melanocytes and melanocyte stem cells, which can then, in turn, prematurely gray hair emerge, explains study author Melissa Harris from the University of Alabama, in a press release.

Study results in better understanding

The researchers found in their investigation, however, that such infection does not immediately lead to gray hair. The results of the study highlight a mechanism that helps the experts to understand better, to contribute what are the biological contributions of the visible signs of aging. (as)