(Igor Stramyk/Shutterstock.com)

Mice Put Through “Intense Pain” To Test Link Between Stress & Early Graying

by | February 23, 2020

A group of researchers have put a number of mice through a month of pain, confinement and observation in order to determine if stress is a cause of early graying.

Led by Harvard University stem cell biologist Ya-Chieh Hsu and published in academic journal Nature last month, the study involved the administration of resiniferatoxin. This is a substance which, in the words of researcher Thiago Mattar Cunha, inflicted “intense pain” on the animals.

They repeated the experiment multiple times to test their hypothesis, and determine whether the grading was a preventable response.

lab mouse like those tested for early graying
Resiniferatoxin was administered to indiuce “intense pain” (Egoreichenkov Evgenii/Shutterstock.com)

Stress, Early Graying & “Beyond”

Professor Hsu described surprise at just how much damage stress — in this case that of the presumably unwilling mice — can inflict on one’s body.

“When we started to study this, I expected that stress was bad for the body – but the detrimental impact of stress that we discovered was beyond what I imagined,” she said.

“After just a few days, all of the pigment-regenerating stem cells were lost. Once they’re gone, you can’t regenerate pigment anymore. The damage is permanent.”

It is unclear from reports what happened to the mice in the wake of the painful experiments.

What do you think of this sort of experiment? Let us know in the comments below.


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