Extracts from the birch tree have served for centuries as a traditional means of helping the damaged skin around wounds to regenerate more quickly.
Birch bark extract is prepared from the outer white layer of the tree. © Armin Scheffler
Prof. Dr. Irmgard Merfort from the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Freiburg and her team have now explained the molecular mechanism behind the wound-healing effect of an extract from the outer white layer of the tree’s bark. The scientists published their findings in the journal Plos One.
The team cooperated with several other departments and institutes, such as a research group from the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Cell Research and the Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology of the University of Freiburg as well as a research group from the Dermatological Clinic of the University of Hamburg.
In the first phase of wound healing, the damaged skin cells release certain substances that lead to a temporary inflammation. They attract phagocytes, which remove foreign bacteria and dead tissue. The Freiburg scientists determined that the birch bark extract, in particular its main ingredient betulin, does in fact temporarily increase the amount of these inflammatory substances. The natural substance activates proteins that extend the half-life of the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA). A gene must first be translated into mRNA for the blueprint of a protein to be read by the genome. The substance triples the time in which the mRNA of a particular messenger remains stable. This messenger enables more of the protein in question, in this case the inflammatory substances, to be produced. In addition, the birch bark extract and betulin also stabilize the mRNA of further messengers.
In the second phase of wound healing the skin cells migrate and close the wound. The natural substance aids in this process: The birch cork extract and its components betulin and lupeol activate proteins that are involved in the restructuring of the actin cytoskeleton, which gives the cell its shape with the help of the structural protein actin. In this way, the substances from the birch cause keratinocytes – the most common type of cell in the outermost layer of skin – to migrate more quickly into the wound and close it.Original Publication:
A Fluttering Accordion
04.08.2015 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Molecular Spies to Fight Cancer - Procedure for improving tumor diagnosis successfully tested
03.08.2015 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf
Continuing current carbon dioxide (CO2) emission trends throughout this century and beyond would leave a legacy of heat and acidity in the deep ocean. These...
Glacier decline in the first decade of the 21st century has reached a historical record, since the onset of direct observations. Glacier melt is a global phenomenon and will continue even without further climate change. This is shown in the latest study by the World Glacier Monitoring Service under the lead of the University of Zurich, Switzerland.
The World Glacier Monitoring Service, domiciled at the University of Zurich, has compiled worldwide data on glacier changes for more than 120 years. Together...
Using ultracold atoms trapped in light crystals, scientists from the MPQ, LMU, and the Weizmann Institute observe a novel state of matter that never thermalizes.
What happens if one mixes cold and hot water? After some initial dynamics, one is left with lukewarm water—the system has thermalized to a new thermal...
Physicists from Regensburg and Marburg, Germany have succeeded in taking a slow-motion movie of speeding electrons in a solid driven by a strong light wave. In the process, they have unraveled a novel quantum phenomenon, which will be reported in the forthcoming edition of Nature.
The advent of ever faster electronics featuring clock rates up to the multiple-gigahertz range has revolutionized our day-to-day life. Researchers and...
Researchers have developed an ultrafast light-emitting device that can flip on and off 90 billion times a second and could form the basis of optical computing.
04.08.2015 | Event News
23.07.2015 | Event News
10.07.2015 | Event News
05.08.2015 | Business and Finance
05.08.2015 | Social Sciences
04.08.2015 | Information Technology