3:50 pm - Thursday February 18, 5266

UK Researchers Discover Clue Sunburn Pain


A chemical that triggers pain in the body resulting from sunburn has been revealed by Effects of UVB directly lead to Sun Burnt SkinUK experts in a discovery that could possibly lead to new painkillers.

Scientists hope that one day they will be able to nullify the effects of the substance with drugs, helping people who suffer from chronic pain.

Tests on volunteers showed the chemical CXCL5 is produced when skin is burnt by ultra violet rays from the sun. The research is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Prolonged and regular exposure to ultraviolet light from sunlight causes skin conditions such as premature skin ageing, cancer and other skin changes.

The main agent responsible for areas of sunburn is UVB that affects the outer layer of the skin that leads to sun burnt skin.

Scientists at King’s College London exposed small patches of skin to UVB irradiation for the 10 volunteers.

This lead to areas of sunburn that became increasingly tender over passage of few days.

‘I’m excited about where these findings could take us in terms of eventually developing a new type of analgesic for people who suffer from chronic pain.’

The scientists took small samples of sun burnt skin and examined them to look for hundreds of known pain molecules. They discovered that the samples contained unusually high levels of CXCL5.

‘These findings have shown for the first time the important role of this particular molecule in controlling pain from exposure to UVB irradiation’, Study leader Professor Steve McMahon from the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases at King’s College said.

‘But this study isn’t just about sunburn – we hope that we have identified a potential target which can be utilized to understand more about pain in other inflammatory conditions like arthritis and cystitis.’

‘We intend to extend this approach to other types of pain and in particular to study patients suffering from chronic pain with the hope that this will speed up the process of turning science into effective treatments for patients.’ Dr David Bennett, a neurologist at King’s College Hospital added.

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