In an article published in the journal ACS Central Science , chemists, materials scientists and nanoingenieros at the University of California (San Diego, USA), report the development of a nanoparticle that mimic the behavior of natural melanosomes , ie, of cellular structures that produce melanin and protect the skin, eyes and other tissues of ultraviolet radiation.
Nathan Gianneschi leads the team of scientists and a professor at the University of California. Reports that succeeded in making a synthetic version of the particles using our skin to produce and store melanin. ‘We hypothesized that similar synthetic melanin nanoparticles mimic natural melanosomes and would be absorbed by keratinocytes , which is the predominant cell type in the epidermis , “Gianneschi explained.
The team created these nanoparticles, similar to melanin, through spontaneous oxidation of dopamine , developing synthetic analogs biocompatible with natural melanosomes. They found that the nanoparticles were absorbed and distributed within keratinocytes as natural melanosomes, but also protected the skin cells from the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation .
Application for skin diseases
” Given the limitations in treating diseases related to defective melanin and biocompatibility of these synthetic melanin nanoparticles, these systems have potential as artificial melanosomes for the development of new therapies , “the researchers counted.
Defects in the production of melanin cause diseases such as albinism or vitiligo, which currently lack effective treatments and are at high risk of skin cancer . Vitiligo develops when the immune system ‘erases’ normal melanocytes in the skin and stops its production. Albinism is due to genetic defects that cause no tyrosinase, an enzyme which depends melanin production. ” A growing interest in the performance of various polymeric materials related to melanin prompted us to search for new synthetic for preparing materials similar to melanin routes “Gianneschi says. Scientists have discovered that remove particles of melanin from natural sources (such as bird feathers or skin of some reptiles) is a more complex process to produce synthetically.