Video shows the speed a wound heals – with recovery being surprisingly faster during the DAY
- The pace cuts and scratches heal is controlled by the brain’s ‘master clock’
- Researchers expected more recovery during sleep while the body recharges
- Healing during daytime may be because this is when injuries typically occur
- Surgeons could use these results to one day operate around when healing peaks
A video shows the astonishing speed a wound heals, with scientists being surprised to discover recovery is faster during the day than at night-time.
The pace cuts and scratches heal is thought to be controlled by the body’s ‘master clock’ in the brain.
The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, expected recovery to largely take place during sleep, as this is when the body recharges.
However, they believe their findings actually demonstrate an evolutionary advantage, with wounds healing faster during the day as this is when they are most likely to occur.
This could open up a new door of medical treatments, such as scheduling operations so they occur when the body’s recovery mechanism peaks, they add.
The researchers analysed how skin cells, known as fibroblasts, respond depending on the time of day.
When we become wounded, fibroblasts rush to the affected area and produce protective proteins, such as collagen, to help rebuild damaged tissue.
Fibroblasts depend upon a protein called actin to fuel their migration to the injured site. The scientists believe it is actin that is influenced by the time of day.
To test this, the scientists examined fibroblasts in the lab by scratching skin cells at different times of the day and then examining them under a microscope.
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Results suggested the cells that were injured under ‘night’ conditions healed slower than those damaged during the ‘day’.
The researchers then repeated the experiment on mice and similarly found cuts heal faster if they occur during waking hours than those that take place while the animals are sleeping.
‘We consistently see about a two-fold difference in wound healing speed between the body clock’s day and night,’ the authors wrote in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
‘In both cells and mice, we can reset the tissue healing response by tricking the cells into thinking it’s a different time of day.
‘Such as by turning the lights on at night and off at different times of day for the mice or using body clock-altering drugs on cells in the lab.’
The researchers then analysed past data from patients with burns, and found those who suffered their injuries between 8am and 8pm took on average 60 per cent longer to heal than the wounds obtained during the day.
They believe this could lead to the development of different medical treatments that work around the body’s master clock.
Respiratory clinician John Blaikley, from the University of Manchester, who was also involved in the study, said: ‘Not only could novel drug targets be identified, but also the effectiveness of established therapies might be increased through changing what time of day they are given.’
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