How Does Our Skin Feel Light and Taste to Protect against the Harmful Effects of the Environment?

C. Gondran, C. Coquet, I. Imbert

As a complex sensory organ in the first line to sense external signals, our skin contains multiple receptors intended to responseAs a complex sensory organ in the first line to sense external signals, our skin contains multiple receptors intended to responseto touch perception, as well as thermal variation and pain. Moreover, recent studies highlighted the presence of photoreceptorsand tasting receptors in human skin, whose function is still poorly described. The fact that these receptors can functionallyrespond to external stimuli, in particular to blue light and bitter compounds, allows us to consider a role in skin alert underenvironmental stresses. The present study aims at investigating the presence of opsin photoreceptors and bitter taste receptorsin human skin, and to evaluate their response to stress induced either by exposure to blue light or smoke pollution. Blue lightrepresenting High Energy Visible (HEV) light was shown to be associated with the generation of oxidative stress, which is associatedwith skin photo-damage. Blue light pollution refers to artificial blue light exposure associated with a hyper-connectedlifestyle. For the purpose of overall protection of the skin, protection from blue light pollution may help minimize its detrimentaleffects, which are associated with digital aging. In a second approach, receptors for bitter tasting were studied aiming at improvingskin response to pollution stress.

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