Solve the mystery of gray hair

22.03.2005

22.03.2005


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Scientists have figured out why hair loses its natural color

Actor Richard Gere is not going to turn green gray hair.
Photo: AP


Stem cells instead of paint

It was known that brunettes, brown, red are due to special cells — melanocytes. They are located at the base of hair follicles, and produce pigments impart color our mane. But suddenly stops producing pigments. Why? Riddle. That is what seems to be random and solved the American dermatologist Amy Nishimura, who investigated not a gray hair, and was developing a cure for skin cancer — melanoma.

But it turned out that the cancer and the gray one source — the stem cells present in the same hair follicles.

— Tumor — he says, — occurs when a person begin to divide uncontrollably stem cells — blanks, which are replenished and updated melanocytes. A turning gray hair from that supply of stem cells, conversely finishes.

Understand the process, Nishimura tries to control it. He has already found a gene called Sun12, which protects the stem cells from premature death, but does not give them to multiply excessively. According to the researcher, the stock of which man is endowed from birth, should be enough to not go gray until his death. The task — to save it, and if need be, and to fill up by affecting the activity of the corresponding gene. Nashimura hopes to solve the problem with the help of some medication that can be rubbed into the scalp. And make them work "slothful" gene.



The scheme of color hair.

Viruses attach color

Much closer to the practical implementation of the work of geneticist Ronald Hoffman — and also from the cancer center, but in California (USA). He was able to grow in a completely white mice colored hair. Do not paint them, highlights the researcher, namely to grow.

After the experiment, mice gained, however, very original colors — bright green and glowing in the dark. "Natural punks" — speaks of small animal scientist.

The fact is that in the hair follicles of mice managed to introduce the gene of jellyfish. And it produces a pigment that gives green and blinks. The gene introduced by the cold virus after modifying it so that it breeds only in the hair cells. In fact, the mice were "infected" color. Similarly, Hoffman says, you can "infect" and the gray people.

It is possible that some sake of getting rid of gray hair and agree on the greens, as in mice. The technology already tested this colorization — tomorrow transmitted in hairdressing. But the scientist, realizing that with the palette there is an obvious flaw, looking for transplanting genes for a decent pigments. In terms of colors. Such as studies show, can be found in the coat of cows, horses and chickens feathers.

Wholesome advice

In the ancient Indian texts, there are references to the fact that yoga drank from gray hair mercury, some sly way to insist on sulfur. So to get the drug, and not poison. However, no exact recipe still can not find. Therefore, the current nutritionists recommend for long-term preservation of the natural hair color of the dish of broccoli. Surprisingly, exotic vegetable supposedly saves even cancer. No, all the same, these two diseases are somehow related to each other …


Green Mouse in California — the first victory of the researchers on the gray.

MEANWHILE

Treated for cancer and cured hair

An amazing side effect was found in one of the new drugs for the treatment of leukemia — cancer of the lymphatic and hematopoietic system. Experiencing it, scientists from the University of Victor Segalen in Bordeaux (France) noted that some patients get rid of gray hair. Not many — only nine out of 133. But these five men and four women hair miraculously regained his natural color.

Doctors who worked under the direction of Dr. Gabriel Etienne, noticed that the average gray disappeared for five months. However, one of the patients natural color back already after 14 months of treatment. Bewildered scientists have even asked colleagues not seen anyone else like effect.

Again, there is a mysterious connection Oncology and graying. But what is its essence, this time, is not yet clear. Just as it is not clear why the drug acting on the blood and bone marrow, affects the coloring hair.

— Not sure cure for leukemia itself can be directly used for cosmetic purposes — said Gabriel Etienne — but laboratory studies of its effect has already begun. Themselves wondering what was going on.

Vladimir Lagowski lagovskiy@kp.ru March 17, 2005

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