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 The genes are not to blame
20.07.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Targeting headaches and tumors with nano-submarines
20.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

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: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>