According to the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona, the body clock adjusts the regulation of skin stem cells according to the time of day. Research suggests the disturbance of this rhythm can lead to a predisposition to skin cancer and tissue ageing.
CRG studies indicate that during exposure to UV light and other pathogens, the skin's cells will protect themselves. When they aren't exposed, they produce a protective layer rich in keratin.
Research leader, Dr Salvador Aznar Benitah, said that stem cells contain genes that control the biological clock and establish periods of activity and inactivity. The study details how cells are able to identify time of day in order to adapt to the conditions of the environment.
Dr Benitah and colleagues also described the connection between circadian rhythm and stem cell modulation in a 2011 study.
The research project is being funded by the European Research Council and the European Union.