Sandalwood scent facilitates wound healing and skin regeneration

July 8, 2014

Skin cells possess an olfactory receptor for sandalwood scent, as researchers at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum have discovered. Their data indicate that the cell proliferation increases and wound healing improves if those receptors are activated. This mechanism constitutes a possible starting point for new drugs and cosmetics. The team headed by Dr Daniela Busse and Prof Dr Dr Dr med habil Hanns Hatt from the Department for Cellphysiology published their report in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

The nose is not the only place where olfactory receptors occur

Humans have approximately 350 different types of olfactory receptors in the nose. The function of those receptors has also been shown to exist in, for example spermatozoa, the prostate, the intestine and the kidneys. The team from Bochum has now discovered them in keratinocytes – cells that form the outermost layer of the skin.

Experiments with cultures of human skin cells

The RUB researchers studied the olfactory receptor that occurs in the skin, namely OR2AT4, and discovered that it is activated by a synthetic sandalwood scent, so-called Sandalore. Sandalwood aroma is frequently used in incense sticks and is a popular component in perfumes. The activated OR2AT4 receptor triggers a calcium-dependent signal pathway. That pathway ensures an increased proliferation and a quicker migration of skin cells – processes which typically facilitate wound healing. In collaboration with the Dermatology Department at the University of Münster, the cell physiologists from Bochum demonstrated that effect in skin cell cultures and skin explants.

Additional olfactory receptors in skin detected

In addition to OR2AT4, the RUB scientists have also found a variety of other olfactory receptors in the skin, the function of which they are planning to characterise more precisely. "The results so far show that they possess therapeutic and cosmetic potential," says Prof Hanns Hatt. "Still, we mustn't forget that concentrated fragrances should be handled with care, until we have ascertained which functions the different types of in have."

Explore further: Extensive variability in olfactory receptors influences human odor perception

More information: Daniela Busse et al. (2014): "A synthetic sandalwood odorant induces wound healing processes in human keratinocytes via the olfactory receptor OR2AT4," Journal of Investigative Dermatology, DOI: 10.1038/JID.2014.273

Related Stories

Switching off anxiety with light

April 7, 2014

Receptors for the messenger molecule serotonin can be modified in such a way that they can be activated by light. Together with colleagues, neuroscientists from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) report on this finding in ...

When wine hits the right nerve

May 5, 2014

If wine leaves a bitter, cotton-like coating on the tongue, neither the sense of taste nor the sense of smell is responsible. The traditional oak barrel character, also called barrique character, is perceived via the trigeminal ...

Recommended for you

New 'Tissue Velcro' could help repair damaged hearts

August 28, 2015

Engineers at the University of Toronto just made assembling functional heart tissue as easy as fastening your shoes. The team has created a biocompatible scaffold that allows sheets of beating heart cells to snap together ...

Fertilization discovery: Do sperm wield tiny harpoons?

August 26, 2015

Could the sperm harpoon the egg to facilitate fertilization? That's the intriguing possibility raised by the University of Virginia School of Medicine's discovery that a protein within the head of the sperm forms spiky filaments, ...

Research identifies protein that regulates body clock

August 26, 2015

New research into circadian rhythms by researchers at the University of Toronto Mississauga shows that the GRK2 protein plays a major role in regulating the body's internal clock and points the way to remedies for jet lag ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Whydening Gyre
not rated yet Jul 08, 2014
JVK is gonna jump on this one for sure....

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.