NYU Scientists Discover How Aging Impairs Hair Color Development in Stem Cells

Scientists at NYU Grossman School of Medicine have discovered that certain stem cells, known as melanocyte stem cells (McSCs), become stuck in the growth compartments of hair follicles as we age, impairing their potential to develop and conserve hair colour. The researchers found that as hair ages, an increasing number of McSCs get trapped in the stem cell compartment called the hair follicle bulge, where they remain immobile and unable to mature into the transit-amplifying state. As a result, they fail to go back to their initial position in the germ compartment, which is where the presence of WNT proteins would have triggered their regeneration into pigment cells.[0] Earlier work by the same team at NYU showed that WNT signalling was needed to stimulate the McSCs to mature and produce pigment.[1] The study revealed that McSCs in the hair germ compartment situated below the bulge receive significantly more WNT signalling than those in the bulge, with a difference of trillions of times.[1] The researchers hope their findings may lead to the necessary answers for keeping our hair healthy and with its natural colour into our old age.[2]

0. “Breakthrough: Gray hair will soon be a thing of the past” Earth.com, 19 Apr. 2023, https://www.earth.com/news/breakthrough-gray-hair-will-soon-be-a-thing-of-the-past/

1. “Scientists think they’ve finally found the cure for telltale sign of ageing” The Independent, 20 Apr. 2023, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/hair-colour-grey-stop-scientist-b2322501.html

2. “Way to stop hair going grey could finally have been found by researchers” Irish Mirror, 20 Apr. 2023, https://www.irishmirror.ie/lifestyle/way-stop-hair-going-grey-29767475

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