A new substance developed by scientists in the University of Bath scientists in collaboration with King’s College London offers new and effective protection against the damaging effects of UVA radiation ifrom sunlight, which leads to fast aging, cancers and cell damage.
Most sunscreens on the market can shield well against solar UVB radiation but have restricted effectiveness against UVA injury, thus only counting on the reflective properties of creams to safeguard against detrimental UVA rays.
Nevertheless this new compound, referred to as the ‘mitoiron claw’ by the group, offers robust protection inside our cells precisely in the place where the greatest damage from UVA happens, and would not intervene with the other activities of the cell.
The Mitoiron Claw
The researchers from the University of Bath, working with colleagues at Kings College London, hope to see the mitoiron claw compound introduced to sunscreens and skin care products in 3 to 4 years time.
Free iron concentration is in particular high inside the mitochondria, the batteries of the cell, where it is wanted for some capabilities. Nonetheless upon exposure to UVA in the sunlight, excess free iron acts as a catalyst for the construction of toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS), causing damage to cell components such as DNA, fat and proteins thereby increasing the chance of cancer and cell death.
Nonetheless this custom-designed iron chelator (a molecule that binds to an iron atom like a claw) strikes straight to the mitochondria where it safely binds the excess free iron, stopping it from reacting upon exposure to UVA rays.
Lab exams with human dermis fibroblast cells exposed to UVA radiation for 140 minutes of uninterrupted solar exposure at sea level showed that cells treated with the mitoiron claw were completely protected against death. Untreated cells died.
The study is published within the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. One of the authors, Dr Charareh Pourzand, from the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology at the University of Bath, said, The role of iron-mediated damage induced upon exposure of skin cells to UVA has been underestimated for many years. For efficient protection against UVA-induced iron damage of skin strong chelators are needed, but until now these risked toxic effects caused by non-targeted iron starvation of cells. Our mitochondria-targeted compound provides a solution to this problem and can address an unmet need in the skincare and sunscreen fields. This mitoiron claw is a highly effective compound, offering unprecedented protection against UVA-induced mitochondrial damage.
Now that the protective effects of the substance were verified the researchers, Dr Charareh Pourzand and Dr Olivier Reelfs from the University of Bath and Prof Robert Hider and Dr Vincenzo Abbate at Kings College London, plans more work to discover the effects of this new compound. This entails the likelihood of establishing cures for ailments involving mitochondrial iron overload, such as Friedreich’s ataxia.
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Reference: Science Daily
Written By: Dr. Marie Gabrielle Laguna Bedia