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KROX20 Study: Balding, Grey Hair Due to Skin Cells

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KROX20 Study: Balding, Grey Hair Due to Skin CellsResearchers from the UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have recognized the cells that make hair to turn grey. These findings would someday support in identifying viable therapies for balding and hair graying.

According to Dr. Lu Le, associate Professor of Dermatology with the Harold C. Simmons comprehensive cancer center at UT Southwestern, Although this project was started in an effort to understand how certain kinds of tumors form, we ended up learning why hair turns gray and discovering the identity of the cell that directly gives rise to hair. With this knowledge, we hope in the future to create a topical compound or to safely deliver the necessary gene to hair follicles to correct these cosmetic problems.

Impact Of KROX20 Protein

The researchers found that a protein known as KROX20, which was quite often related to nerve development, on this case turns on in skin cells that turn out to be the hair shaft. These hair precursor, or progenitor, cells then produce a protein known as stem cell factor (SCF) that the researchers confirmed is principal for hair pigmentation.

Once they deleted the SCF gene within the hair progenitor cells in mouse models, the animal’s hair turned white. Once they deleted the KROX20-producing cells, no hair grew and the mice grew to become bald as found in this study.  The findings are released online in Genes and Development journal.


Dr. Le, who holds the Thomas L. Shields, M.D. Professorship in Dermatology, said he and his researchers serendipitously uncovered this reason behind balding and hair graying at the same time studying a disease called Neurofibromatosis type 1, a rare genetic disease that makes tumors develop on nerves.

Scientists already knew that stem cells contained in a bulge field of hair follicles are concerned in making hair and that SCF is most important for pigmented cells, stated Dr. Le, a member of the Hamon Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine.

How Gray Hair Occurs

There are some reasons for premature hair graying

Graying hair may be due to heart disease.

According to a latest study posted in the European Society of Cardiology, gray hair is connected with heart disease in men. Researchers found that graying hair  may be related to increased chance of heart disorder regardless of chronological age and established heart disease risk factors.


It may also be due to a vitamin deficiency.  Each hair follicle includes pigment (referred to as melanin ” the same thing that brings color to the skin) that gives our hair its coloration. As we become older, we produce much less pigment, resulting in grey hair. Low vitamin B12 ranges are responsible for loss of hair pigment. And a 2013 study determined that low diet D3, serum calcium and serum ferritin levels can cause hair to turn up gray earlier.

Your follicles may also be afflicted by ‘oxidative stress’. Hair follicles produce small amounts of hydrogen peroxide, a chemical that has been used for many years as an inexpensive way to lighten or bleach hair. However, if a hydrogen peroxide buildup happens, your hair color may also start to fade.

Smoking may also be responsible for graying hair.

A 2013 study published inside the Indian Dermatology Online Journal observed that people who smoke are more likely to develop gray hair than individuals who do not smoke. And smoking can go  further in damaging your tresses: certain chemical substances in smoke spoil down hair cells, which ends up in baldness.

Graying of hair may also be inherited in families. A study in 2013 has determined the exact gene accountable for giving us gray hair.