Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sunless Suntan Proves Possible

Great news.. for those of us who love to be tanned and don't dare lie out in the sun any more because of sun damaged skin.

Sun seekers and tanning-bed junkies take note: Researchers have induced honest-to-goodness suntans in mice without exposing them to ultraviolet (UV) rays. Instead, they rubbed a lotion into the critters' skin that activated their tanning machinery, which then protected the mice from UV's cancer-causing effects. The animals carried a mutation making them fair skinned and unable to tan otherwise, like human redheads, suggesting that a similar tanning trick might help even the pastiest of us bask in the sun without worry.

....researchers applied the plant compound forskolin, which is known to promote cellular production of a molecule called cyclic AMP, a chemical that the normal MC1R also targets.

When anointed daily with forskolin, the mice developed a rich caramel hue, report David Fisher of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and colleagues in the September 21 Nature. "After a couple of weeks they were virtually black," Fisher says. These bronzed rodents were nearly as resistant to UV-induced sunburn as naturally black-colored mice, and even animals especially prone to skin cancer saw fewer and slower-developing tumors when slathered with forskolin. Fisher says his group is working to identify a compound that would offer similar protection to people and is safe to apply.

Go researchers.. it could mean the end of the sunbed industry!! and way less visits to your friendly dermatologist to burn off those nasty sunspots!

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