Friday, September 11, 2009

Vitamin C - Vital role in repairing DNA damage

Vitamin C could have a vital role to play in repairing DNA damage, scientists have discovered.

Researchers from the University of Leicester and Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Portugal have found that the vitamin can improve wound healing and even work deeper in the skin to repair the damage done by free radicals to the cell’s DNA.

The team, comprising Tiago Duarte, Marcus S Cooke and G. Don Jones, tested a vitamin C derivative – ascorbic acid 2-phosphate (AA2P) – to analyse the effectiveness of sustained exposure on human dermal fibroblasts. They then investigated which genes are activated by the vitamin C in the cells, which were found to be those responsible for skin regeneration.

“The results demonstrated that vitamin C may improve wound healing by stimulating quiescent fibroblasts to divide and by promoting their migration to the wounded area,” explains Tiago Duarte, who was previously at the University of Leicester and is now at the Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Portugal. “Vitamin C could also protect the skin by increasing the capacity of fibrolasts to repair potentially mutagenic DNA lesions.”

Dr Marcus S Cooke, who is a senior lecturer in the department of cancer studies and department of genetics at the University of Leicester, believes these findings could have important implications for skincare companies, but advises against companies using these findings to make claims about their products.“It is perhaps worth noting that the medium we culture cells in can be thought of as analogous to plasma. The cells are bathed in a vitamin-containing liquid. The cells ‘decide’ how much vitamin C they need and can take it up to achieve a concentration in the cell greater than outside the cell. I think it is conceivable that these results could be achieved outside the lab but it would take a scientific study to prove this.”

by Laura McCreddie

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