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Molecular discovery sheds light on scars

New York — Agents that block receptors for adenosine may be applied topically to wound sites, helping to diminish scars, according to results of a new study.

Scientists with New York University School of Medicine describe how adenosine, an ATP-generated molecule the body uses to provide energy to muscles, can be used topically for scar treatment, resulting in skin that feels like the original, unscarred skin, Medical News Today reports.

When skin tissue is wounded, ATP leaks from the damaged cells and is converted to adenosine, which promotes healing, Medical News Today reports. Scars form when adenosine continues to be produced at the wound site after the injury is healed. To study the possibility of reducing scar sizes, researchers from the New York University School of Medicine studied wounds on mice. After the wound closed, the adenosine A2A receptor antagonist was applied. The adenosine A2A receptor agonist prevented excessive scar tissue in the treated mice, researchers determined.

"Scars can be disfiguring and, if extensive enough, can lead to diminished function and quality of life," Medical News Today quotes researcher Bruce N. Cronstein, M.D., as saying. “We hope that our findings may lead to new agents that diminish scarring and disfigurement following burns, wounds or even illnesses that destroy skin.”

The report was published online in FASEB Journal.

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