Washington: Each time you plan a beach holiday, the pain of sunburn haunts you, the blisters annoy you, compelling you to drop our travel plans. But in a major breakthrough, scientists have found a potentially new method to keep the sunburns at bay.
The study was conducted by the Duke University School of Medicine.
The research conducted in mouse models and human skin samples could yield a way to combat the unwelcoming sunburn and possibly several other causes of pain.
The painful, red skin that comes from spending too much time under the Sun is caused by a molecule ‘TRPV4’ which is abundant in the skin’s epidermis, a new study has found. Blocking these molecules greatly protects against the painful effects of sunburn.
Researchers investigated whether the TRPV4 molecule, which is abundant in skin cells and has been shown to be involved in other pain processes, might play a role in the pain and tissue damage caused by over-exposure to UVB.
The scientists built a mouse model that was missing TRPV4 only in cells of the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin. They took these genetically engineered mice along with their normal counterparts and exposed their hind paws – which most resemble human skin – to UVB rays.
The hind paws of the normal mice became hypersensitive and blistered in response to the UVB exposure. But those of the mutant mice showed little sensitization and tissue injury.
To test whether these findings in mice and mouse cells have human relevance, researchers used human skin samples to successfully demonstrate increased activation of TRPV4 and endothelin. These molecules are known to cause pain in humans and also evoke itching in human epidermis after UVB exposure that causes sunburn.