Eureka Alert

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Meadowfoam, a native Pacific Northwest plant cultivated as an oilseed crop, has emerged as a potential new source of protection against the sun’s harmful effects on the skin.

The findings by scientists at Oregon State University are important because nearly 10,000 people a day in the United States are diagnosed with skin cancer, resulting in large part from the DNA damage caused by the ultraviolet radiation the sun emits.

In addition to cancer, prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to the skin’s premature aging, visible in the form of sagging and wrinkles.

“There’s a highly complex cascade of biochemical reactions that occur as stress responses in the skin attempt to counteract UV-induced damage,” said co-corresponding author Gitali Indra, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences. “We need better ways to block UV exposure and also ways to lessen the damage by limiting detrimental physiological processes.”

Meadowfoam, named for the canopy of creamy-white flowers it produces when a crop is in full bloom, contains a class of compounds known as glucosinolates whose derivatives have been shown to have anti-cancer and sunlight-protectant properties.

Indra and colleagues in the OSU College of Pharmacy looked at two derivatives from one such


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