Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

DNA repair could reduce sunburn

27.11.2001



An immune system chemical may undo skin damage by sunlight.

A chemical involved in immune-system signalling may be able to reverse some types of skin damage caused by sunlight. It could reduce sunburn by activating DNA-repair mechanisms, a new study suggests, raising the possibility that the chemical might be used to prevent or treat skin cancer1.

High-energy ultraviolet light is thought to promote skin cancer by damaging the DNA within cells. Skin cancer, the most common malignancy among people of Western European descent, strikes over one million people each year in the United States alone.



But when cultured human skin cells were treated with the protein interleukin-12 (IL-12), they were less likely to incur permanent DNA damage or die after being exposed to ultraviolet light, the researchers found. The cells showed as much damage as control cells immediately after exposure, but had significantly less damage several hours later. The same effect was found in the skin of mice treated with IL-12 before being exposed to ultraviolet. This suggests that IL-12 promotes repair rather than blocking ultraviolet rays, as most sunscreens do.

The protein appears to stimulate a cellular editing system that snips damaged pieces of DNA out of the sequence, explains Thomas Schwarz of the University of Münster in Germany, a member of the team that carried out the study.

IL-12 could be a "very attractive" treatment for sun damage, says Schwarz, but it will never take the place of sunscreens, he cautions.

While they are still the best defence against skin cancers, sunscreens are never 100% effective says Julia Newton Bishop, who studies melanoma at St James’s Hospital in Leeds, UK. "So we’re always interested in mechanisms to reduce damage or speed repair."

IL-12 may protect skin by sparking an "SOS response", suggests Barbara Gilchrest, who studies DNA repair at Boston University School of Medicine. Bacteria have long been known to throw their DNA repair system into a higher gear after being exposed to sunlight, so that later exposures are less damaging; in recent years, mammalian skin cells have been found to do the same.

IL-12 is produced after exposure to sunlight, Gilchrest says. Adding it to cells before exposing them to ultraviolet light could "trick the system into thinking it has already seen sun damage so it should get ready," she says.

Damage limitation

IL-12 is not the first chemical found to promote DNA repair after ultraviolet damage. Earlier this year, researchers showed that a bacterial enzyme placed on the skin prevents the formation of new cancerous regions in people highly prone to skin cancer.

But unlike the bacterial enzyme, IL-12, being naturally produced by human cells, would be less likely to trigger allergic responses says Kenneth Kraemer, who works on DNA excision at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. More work is needed to clarify IL-12’s effects and possible side effects, he adds, but the idea that it could be used as a therapy for skin cancer is "provocative".

IL-12’s protective function is a surprise. It belongs to a class of signalling chemicals called cytokines, which were never suspected of being able to stimulate DNA repair.

The work "opens up a whole new area of investigation," says Kraemer. If IL-12 is involved in DNA repair, he says, other cytokines may be as well. "This is probably the tip of the iceberg."

References

  1. Schwarz, A. et al. Interleukin-12 suppresses ultraviolet radiation-induced apoptosis by inducing DNA repair. Nature Cell Biology, Advance Online Publication, 26 November (2001), DOI: 10.1038/ncb717
  2. Yarosh, D. et al. Effect of topically applied T4 endonuclease V in liposomes on skin cancer in xeroderma pigmentosum: a randomised study. Lancet, 357, 926, (2001).


ERICA KLARREICH | © Nature News Service
Further information:
http://www.nature.com/nsu/
http://www.lancet.com

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Serious children’s infections also spreading in Switzerland
26.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht New vaccine production could improve flu shot accuracy
25.07.2017 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

CCNY physicists master unexplored electron property

26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Molecular microscopy illuminates molecular motor motion

26.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Large-Mouthed Fish Was Top Predator After Mass Extinction

26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>