An unpublished study on capillary stem cells discovered the protein responsible for hair growth and coloring. Scientists have known for decades that stem cells from the hair follicles and melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells, interact in some way to produce colored hair. So far, however, no one knew exactly how.
In a paper published in Cell, one of the most important scientific journals in the world, Dr. Mayumi Ito of the University of New York, discovered that a protein known as Wnt is essential in this process. The mouse study showed exactly how the Wnt protein signal pathways allow the follicle and melanocyte stem cells to work together to generate capillary growth and produce pigments.
Research has shown that the abnormality or absence of Wnt inhibits the emergence of new wires and prevents color formation. In addition to indicating a possible form of treatment for baldness and gray hair, the study may also help fight serious diseases such as melanoma or skin cancer.
The human body has several types of stem cells with regeneration potential. The methods behind the communication between them, discovered in hair strands, can provide important clues for regenerating more complex organs. In addition, it helps to understand diseases in which melanocytes are involved.