Importance of Biochemistry

White hair a link with immunity?

White hair and immunity?

A direct link between MITF and innate immunity ?

White hair a link with immunity :

White hair a link with immunity
White hair girl

White hair a link with immunity is listed here briefly in this article.A study conducted on mice explains why it is possible to have more white hair after an infection or chronic stress. The loss of hair pigmentation is associated with the activation of the innate immune system.

Sometimes, some people have more white hair after a serious illness or chronic stress . A new study from the University of Alabama (United States) published in  Plos Biology provides an explanation.

Researchers have discovered a link:

Researchers have discovered a link between genes that contribute to the color of hair (or hair) and those that inform the body of an infection.

When a virus or bacteria attacks the body, the innate immune system kicks in.Cells respond by secreting molecules , interferons , which activate the host’s defenses .

A transcription factor(MITF):

 Here, the researchers found an unexpected link between gray hair, a transcription factor (MITF) and innate immunity .

Murine virus(MuLV):

In the 1980s, studies in mice had already shown that exposure to a murine virus (MuLV) promoted premature hair whitening.

The factor MITF :

The factor MITF plays a role in controlling different functions of the melanocyte . In the mouse, if the mitf gene  is not expressed, there is an almost total absence of melanoblasts in the embryo , which gives, at birth, all white mice.

But MITF also has a link with the cell’s response to interferon :

it reduces the expression of genes for the innate immune response in cells of the melanocyte line.

Researchers have shown that loss of hair pigmentation is associated with activation of the innate immune response in mice. © Darryl Leja, NHGRI, Melissa Harris, UAB
White hair in mice

A link between hair color and the innate immune response:

The researchers worked with a mouse model predisposed to have white hair . In these animals, scientists have artificially activated the innate immune response, for example by mimicking a viral infection.


the mice had a significant loss of melanocytes and melanocyte stem cells , hence the presence of more gray hairs.

William Pavan, one of the authors of the study, said in a statement  :

 “This new discovery suggests that the genes that control the pigment in the hair and skin are also working to control the immune system innate. These results can improve our understanding of hair aging. Most importantly, discovering this connection will help us understand pigmentation diseases like vitiligo , with the involvement of the innate immune system. ”

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