Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Starting Point Of Sun-induced Skin Cancer Discovered: Molecular 'Hooks' Also Pull Compounds From Marijuana From Bloodstream

Date:
May 16, 2008
Source:
University of Minnesota
Summary:
The earliest event in the development of sun-induced skin cancer may have been identified. Researchers found that the point of entry for skin cancer in response to sun exposure is in receptor molecules, molecular "hooks" on the outer surface of cells that also pull cannabinoid compounds found in marijuana out of the bloodstream.

According to a new study from the University of Minnesota, the earliest event in the development of sun-induced skin cancer may have been identified. The researchers found that the point of entry for skin cancer in response to sun exposure is in receptor molecules, molecular "hooks" on the outer surface of cells that also pull cannabinoid compounds found in marijuana out of the bloodstream.

"The question at the core of this research was, 'Why does ultraviolet light induce skin cancer?'" said lead researcher Zigang Dong, a professor of cellular and molecular biology and director of the university's Hormel Institute, which supported the study. "The idea is to find an agent that can prevent skin cancers after exposure to the sun."

The receptor molecules are protein structures that are components of cells's outer membranes. Acting like receiving docks, their function is to catch specific compounds from the blood and enable the cells to engulf or otherwise interact with the compounds. Receptors have been identified for many substances, including hormones and other chemical signals that regulate what cells do.

The researchers found that two receptors for cannabinoids also responded to UV light. They made the discovery during a search for the initial interaction between UV light and human skin cells.

The researchers began their search with plant cells because plants must interact with UV light in order to harness its energy for photosynthesis. They concluded that the UV receptors in plants ought to be similar to any found in humans, and, therefore, the genes for the plant and human receptors must also be similar. When they compared plant genes for UV receptors to human genetic material, they found that the human genes for cannabinoid receptors matched.

If cannabinoid receptors are important in the initiation of skin cancer by UV light, then animals that lack the receptors should be relatively protected from the ravages of the light. Working with mouse embryos, the researchers removed the genes for the cannabinoid receptors. They found that the skin of the resulting adult mice, which lacked the receptors, was resistant to the development of UV-induced inflammation and skin tumors called papillomas.

Also, when they exposed cannabinoid receptors to UV light, the receptors changed from an inactive to an active state, indicating they had absorbed and responded to the light.

Why should evolution have produced receptors that respond to both UV light and cannabinoids?

"That we don't know," said Dong.

The research appears in the May 15 issue of Cancer Research.

The Hormel Institute is a collaborative research unit of the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic. The work was supported by the Hormel Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Minnesota. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Minnesota. "Starting Point Of Sun-induced Skin Cancer Discovered: Molecular 'Hooks' Also Pull Compounds From Marijuana From Bloodstream." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080515072642.htm>.
University of Minnesota. (2008, May 16). Starting Point Of Sun-induced Skin Cancer Discovered: Molecular 'Hooks' Also Pull Compounds From Marijuana From Bloodstream. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080515072642.htm
University of Minnesota. "Starting Point Of Sun-induced Skin Cancer Discovered: Molecular 'Hooks' Also Pull Compounds From Marijuana From Bloodstream." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080515072642.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins