Experiment Shows UV Damage and Skin Cancer Can Be Prevented From Annatto Component

Investigators at the University of Arizona (Tucson, USA) based their research on recent studies that suggested a photoprotective role of gene expression in skin cells orchestrated by the transcription factor Nrf2 (nuclear factor-E2-related factor 2). They explored the molecular mechanism underlying carotenoid-based systemic skin photoprotection in the SKH-1 mouse model. A group of SKH-1 mice were injected with bixin, a [US] Food and Drug Administration approved compound found in annatto.  Annatto is an orange-red condiment and food coloring derived from the seeds of the achiote tree (Bixa orellana). Results published in the November 4, 2015, online edition of the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine revealed that systemic administration of bixin suppressed skin photodamage by suppressing epidermal oxidative DNA damage and inflammatory responses in the mice. Senior author Dr. Georg Wondrak, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Arizona, said, “This discovery is unique because bixin is a nutritional factor, not a sunscreen applied to the skin. It prevents UV skin damage from the inside out by inducing cells to make protective antioxidants and repair factors. The compound does not kill skin cancer cells, but prevents their forming in the first place.”

 

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