Ahmetcan Kurt1, Fehmi Balandi1, Oytun Erbaş1,2

1ERBAS Institute of Experimental Medicine, Illinois, USA & Gebze, Turkey
2Department of Physiology, Medical Faculty of Demiroğlu Bilim University, Istanbul, Turkey

Keywords: Canities subita, hair bleaching, marie antoinette syndrome, melanogenesis


Marie Antoinette syndrome (Canities subita) can be defined by the sudden graying of a person's hair as a result of extreme stress, trauma or an illness. It was named after Marie Antoinette, the French queen whose hair turned white overnight until she was guillotined in 1793 during the French Revolution. Marie Antoinette, who was dethroned by the revolution, she knew that she would be executed by a guillotine, so her hair suddenly turned white while in prison due to excessive stress. Cases of sudden graying due to stress and trauma have been documented many times since over 200 years. These cases have been classified in terms of area affected, age, gender, cause of illness, and concomitant diseases, and were named Marie Antoinette syndrome for the first time in 2009. In Latin, it has been named Canities subita by using the words' ani (subita) and whitening (Canities). Although its molecular mechanism has not been clearly resolved, various hypotheses have been put forward by researchers. These are related to the rapid destruction of pigments in the hair, abnormalities that have occurred in the scalp, or the mechanisms of body defense cells that affect pigment oogenesis. Marie Antoinette syndrome, which is a very rapid whitening of hair, eyelashes, eyebrows or other body hair, can be triggered by bodily illnesses, severe psychological illnesses, emotional stress or severe trauma caused by an event. Nowadays, data on this disease are limited, and it is a subject open to research for the medical world.

Cite this article as: Kurt A, Balandi F, Erbaş O. Marie Antoinette Syndrome. JEB Med Sci 2021;2(2):100-105.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declared no conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article.

Financial Disclosure

The authors received no financial support for the research and/or authorship of this article.