Scientists have finally found proof to sustain age-old narratives that stress is the base for hair graying. Researchers ended with a conclusion after a series of experiments done in mice to reveal the kind of nerve engaged in the flight-or-fight response that also causes everlasting harm to the pigment-regenerating stem cells present in the hair follicle. Their findings sights light on the reason how stress could adversely affect the premature graying of hairs.
Revealing the scientific basis for this:
Scientists at the Harvard University scientists have revealed the exact method how stress triggers nerves that are fragment of the fight-or-flight response. As per a study published in Nature, skin and hairs are the only tissues that are visible from outside; scientists wanted to understand if this association is true by chasing the hair pigmentation process to initiate with.
Lessening down the culprit
Being started with the immune cells and the hormone cortisol hypothesized to be the cause for discoloring the hairs, researchers finally ended with the sympathetic nerve connected typically with the body’s fight-or-flight response. Sympathetic nerves spread out to each hair follicle present on the skin, and when under stress, these nerves release a chemical called norepinephrine which is promptly taken by neighboring pigment-regenerating stem cells.
Permanent damage of stem cells
Basically what happens is in the hair follicles, few stem cells perform as a pool of pigment-producing cells. So, when hair renews, certain stem cells transform into pigment-producing cells that are accountable to color the hair. This is triggered by the hormone norepinephrine that fastens the stem cells to produce pigment-producing cells, depleting the reservoir. However, they found that after few days, the pigment renewing stem cells were gone; once they are away, it is impossible to restore pigment anymore and the loss is permanent!
Responding the ultimate question
To get the final answer, researchers possibly zoomed into individual organ systems, thrived through each; leaning their ways of communication even going deep to the molecular basis. The findings explained how neurons can control the stem cells at the molecular and cellular level to connect stress with graying hairs.
These understandings will certainly find a way to chunk the damaging effects of stress.