Chemists developultimate natural sunscreen

Chemists develop the ultimate natural sunscreen

11:46 AM, 19th May 2017
Chemists develop the ultimate natural sunscreen
UC San Diego Chemists have created the ultimate natural sunscreen. (File photo)

LA JOLLA, US: Chemists, materials scientists and nanoengineers at University of California (UC) San Diego have created what may be the ultimate natural sunscreen.

In a paper published in the journal ACS Central Science, they report the development of nanoparticles that mimic the behaviour of natural melanosomes, melanin-producing cell structures that protect our skin, eyes and other tissues from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation.

“Basically, we succeeded in making a synthetic version of the nanoparticles that our skin uses to produce and store melanin and demonstrated in experiments in skin cells that they mimic the behavior of natural melanosomes,” said Nathan Gianneschi, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, materials science and engineering and nanoengineering at UC San Diego, who headed the team of researchers.

“Defects in melanin production in humans can cause diseases such as vitiligo and albinism that lack effective treatments,” Gianneschi added.

Vitiligo develops when the immune system wrongly attempts to clear normal melanocytes from the skin, effectively stopping the production of melanocytes. Albinism is due to genetic defects that lead to either the absence or a chemical defect in tyrosinase, a copper-containing enzyme involved in the production of melanin. Both of these diseases lack effective treatments and result in a significant risk of skin cancer for patients.

Melanin particles are produced naturally in many different sizes and shapes by animals—for iridescent feathers in birds or the pigmented eyes and skin of some reptiles. But scientists have discovered that extracting melanins from natural sources is a difficult and potentially more complex process than producing them synthetically.

Gianneschi and his team discovered two years ago that synthetic melanin-like nanoparticles could be developed in a precisely controllable manner to mimic the performance of natural melanins used in bird feathers.

“We hypothesised that synthetic melanin-like nanoparticles would mimic naturally occurring melanosomes and be taken up by keratinocytes, the predominant cell type found in the epidermis, the outer layer of skin,” said Gianneschi.

In healthy humans, melanin is delivered to keratinocytes in the skin after being excreted as melanosomes from melanocytes.

The UC San Diego scientists prepared melanin-like nanoparticles through the spontaneous oxidation of dopamine—developing biocompatible, synthetic analogues of naturally occurring melanosomes. Then they studied their update, transport, distribution and ultraviolet radiation protective capabilities in human keratinocytes in tissue culture.

The researchers found that these synthetic nanoparticles were not only taken up and distributed normally, like natural melanosomes, within the keratinocytes, they protected the skin cells from DNA damage due to ultraviolet radiation.

“Considering limitations in the treatment of melanin-defective related diseases and the biocompatibility of these synthetic melanin-like nanoparticles in terms of uptake and degradation, these systems have potential as artificial melanosomes for the development of novel therapies, possibly supplementing the biological functions of natural melanins,” the researchers said in their paper.

The other co-authors of the study were Yuran Huang and Ziying Hu of UC San Diego, Yiwen Li and Maria Proetto of the department of chemistry and biochemistry; Xiujun Yue of the department of nanoengineering; and Ying Jones of the electron microscopy core facility.

The UC San Diego office of innovation and commercialization has filed a patent application on the use of polydopamine-based artificial melanins as an intracellular UV-shield.

The study was supported by a grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

© UC San Diego News

0 Comments

Login

Your Comments (Up to 2000 characters)
Please respect our community and the integrity of its participants. WOC reserves the right to moderate and approve your comment.

Related News


Merck, University of Leeds collaborate on optical liquid crystal

DARMSTADT, GERMANY: Merck has signed a five-year research collaboration agreement with the University of Leeds. The aim is to develop new digital opti ...

Read more
MOFs provide a better way to remove water from gas

THUWAL, SAUDI ARABIA: The conventional view that metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) cannot be stable in water has been overturned by the development of a ...

Read more
Cambrex to expand pilot plant in US; invests $2.4 mn

EAST RUTHERFORD, US: Cambrex Corporation (CBM) to expand its pilot plant capabilities at its High Point, North Carolina facility with the installation ...

Read more
CB&I CEO retires; Patrick Mullen takes over

THE WOODLANDS, US: Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I) said that it has approved the retirement of Philip Asherman, as president and chi ...

Read more
Archroma launches new redispersible powder for waterproofing mortars

REINACH, SWITZERLAND: Archroma extends its Mowilith range of products with the launch of Mowilith powder 2702 redispersible polymer powder (RDP). The ...

Read more
Lignin used to make high-quality carbon fibres

COLLEGE STATION, US: Waste material from the paper and pulp industry soon could be made into anything from tennis rackets to cars. “We have ove ...

Read more
www.worldofchemicals.com uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. X