Daytime wounds may heal faster than nighttime ones
Experiments with skin cells and other cells in mice showed that daytime wounds healed about twice as fast as nighttime wounds.
Then, when analyzing the wound recovery for 118 people with burn injuries, the researchers found that wounds that had occurred at night took 60 percent longer to heal than those that had occurred during the day.
The body clock, also called your circadian rhythm, regulates wound healing by skin cells and optimizes healing during the day, the researchers concluded. They added that this could prove helpful for surgery and other medical procedures and might also lead to new drugs to improve wound healing.
"We've shown that the daily cycles in our body clock control how well cells can repair damaged tissue by affecting an essential protein called actin," said lead author Ned Hoyle, with the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England.
"Efficient repair of our skin is critical to preventing infection, and when healing goes wrong, wounds can become chronic or excessive scarring can occur," Hoyle said in a medical research council news release.
"Further research into the link between body clocks and wound healing may help us to develop drugs that prevent defective wound healing or even help us to improve surgery outcomes," Hoyle added.
The study was published November 8 in the journal Science Translational Medicine. ■