Gene Therapy Also Against White Hair

It is a known fact that the lack of certain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients can cause early white hair. Additionally, smokers are likely to accelerate their hair graying processes. But the biggest single factor affecting the onset of gray hair is genetics. However, reversing gray hair is in the most conditions practically impossible and the only remaining option is covering gray hair. Gray hair is caused by the loss of the pigment producing cells called melanocytes and this loss is considered as irreversible.

Gene therapy might be one of the possible future methods of reversing gray hair naturally though. It was found out that repairing genes in the hair follicles of albino mice can temporarily, for about three months, change their hair colour by starting to produce pigmented hair. One weakness of this finding in relation to possible application for reversing gray hair is the fact that albinism is caused by the inability of existing melanocytes (the hair colour producing cells) to produce pigment rather than by their decay. Albinos keep their melanocytes (though damaged) whereas gray haired people lose them so that they cannot be repaired. Therefore, gene therapy looks at the moment more as a demonstration that defective genes in the hair follicle can be repaired rather than a potential treatment for gray hair.

Filed under: Gray Hair News and Research