Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Skin Cells Follow Circadian Rhythms

We all have a biological clock. An internal system of circadian rhythms that alert our body of the time of day and whether or not we should be sleeping or awake. Up until now it was believed that only our brain followed the ticking of this clock. However, a recent study revealed that our skin’s stem cells also follow circadian rhythms. 

In the study published by Cell Press in the journal Cell Stem Cell, researchers revealed that human skin stem cells follow a cyclical schedule by carrying out different functions depending on the time of day. 

“Our study shows that human skin stem cells possess an internal clock that allows them to very accurately know the time of day and helps them know when it is best to perform the correct function,” says study author Salvador Aznar Benitah, an ICREA research professor who developed this project at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG, Barcelona). “This is important because it seems that tissues need an accurate internal clock to remain healthy.” 

According to Benitah’s research, the genes that are involved in protecting the skin from certain UV rays are most active during the daytime. In contrast, the genes for repairing damaged skin are most active during the nighttime, or while humans are sleeping. 

By following the body’s circadian rhythms, the skin’s stem cells have found a way to protect and regenerate themselves based on the time of day. When the circadian rhythms are disrupted, skin stem cells age prematurely, causing cellular damage. 

“Our current efforts lie in trying to identify the causes underlying the disruption of the clock of human skin stem cells and hopefully find means to prevent or delay it," said Benitah.

This study shows that although your skin works hard to stay healthy, other measures must be taken to ensure it remains healthy. At Greenville Dermatology, we offer a wide range of products and treatments to help keep your skin feeling young, fresh and healthy. Come see for yourself, or call our office at (864) 242-5872 to schedule a consultation with one of our skin experts. 

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