Washington: Oilseed crop may be a potential new source of protection against the Sun’s harmful effects on the skin, a study has found.
According to the scientists from Oregon State University (OSU) in the US, skin cancer results in large part from the DNA damage caused by the ultraviolet radiation the Sun emits.
In addition to cancer, prolonged exposure to the Sun can lead to the skin’s premature ageing, visible in the form of sagging and wrinkles, researchers said.
“There is a highly complex cascade of biochemical reactions that occur as stress responses in the skin attempt to counteract UV-induced damage,” said Gitali Indra, an associate professor at OSU.
“We need better ways to block UV exposure and also ways to lessen the damage by limiting detrimental physiological processes,” said Indra.
Meadowfoam, named for the canopy of creamy-white flowers it produces when a crop is in full bloom, contains a class of compounds known as glucosinolates whose derivatives have been shown to have anti-cancer and sunlight-protectant properties.
Indra and colleagues looked at two derivatives from one such glucosinolate that is found readily in the “seedmeal” left over from meadowfoam oilseed processing.
Meadowfoam oil has industrial applications and also is used in shampoos and cosmetics.
The scientists set up 3D facsimiles of human skin reconstructed in culture plates, hit them with ultraviolet B radiation – the more harmful of the two types to reach the Earth from the Sun – and then treated the skin with the meadowfoam derivatives.
Both of the derivatives – 3-methoxybenzylisothiocyanate and 3-methoxyphenylacetonitrile – ameliorated the UV damage to the skin cells by prohibiting cross-linking of DNA, thereby preventing cancer-initiating mutations.
“DNA damage is the precursor to photocarcinogenesis, and these derivatives reduce that damage, which means improved skin health and reduced cancer risk,” said Arup Indra, an associate professor at OSU.
“The findings show a tremendous potential for utility in skin care products, besides just demonstrating the science on its own,” he said. (PTI)
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