You must have seen someone with grey hair or it could be on your head already. The big question may not be about when the hair turned gray but how it turns gray. Your immune system may play a big role in turning your hair gray especially when you are sick or stressed. Melanocytes are cells that determine the color of your hair, and the quantity of melanin in your body. Some special stem cells add to the new follicles some more melanocytes. If the stem cells stop functioning, the pigment of the hair is lost. Some scientists from the Alabama University and National Institutes of Health are still investigating how the immune system and gray hair process relate.
The immune system defends people against bacteria and viruses influencing the attacked cells to produce interferons. These are signaling molecules that communicate with the other cells responsible for gene expression. This leads to the production of the immune effector cells that offer the body protection. It also hinders the viruses from replicating. Scientists have found that the response of your immune system during the attack affects a protein called MITF, which enables the melanocytes to function.
These scientists found out that the MITF protein could lose control of how the melanocytes stem cells respond. This is what causes the hair to turn gray. More research is being done on pigmentation, and the diseases that cause it. Conditions such as vitiligo destroy the skin’s pigment cells. Different conditions determine how the genes change their expression in the genome. Some of these genetic changes come unexpectedly affecting the color of the hair.