Pain study finds 'sunburn protein'

11 July 2011 10:01

Scientists have identified a 'sunburn protein' that could lead to new pain treatments

Scientists have identified a 'sunburn protein' that could lead to new pain treatments

Scientists hope to develop new effective pain treatments after having discovered a molecule that controls sensitivity to pain from sunburn.

Suffering serious sunburn on while abroad, can lead to holidaymakers having to turn to their medical travel insurance to help with the effects.

The molecule called CXCL5, responsible for triggering the inflammatory pain of sunburn caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation, could treat other conditions like arthritis.

CXCL5, which is is part of a family of proteins known as chemokines, recruits inflammatory "macrophage" immune cells to injured tissue, triggering tenderness and pain.

A study of volunteers who were exposed to UV radiation to produce small patches of sunburn on their skin revealed the way the protein is associated to the sunburn and subsequent inflammation. Over a period of two days the patches became extremely tender.

Researchers found high levels of CXCL5 when they tested the samples of the skin to find known pain molecules.

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