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Wounds sustained in daytime heal faster due to body clock

Wounds sustained at night heal more slowly because of how our body clocks work, scientists say, with skin cells moving to the site of a wound to repair it far quicker during the daytime

Wounds sustained at night heal more slowly than those suffered during the day because of how our body clocks work, scientists say.

Body_clock_Healing
Picture: Science Photo Library

The human body follows circadian rhythms – awake in the daytime, asleep at night – and a study has found cuts and burns heal differently depending on when they occur.

The team from the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge analysed the records of 118 burns patients obtained from a database covering England and Wales.

Key reason

Burns that happened at night took an average 60% longer to heal than those that occurred during the day, with night-time burns (8pm to 8am) classed as 95% healed after an average of 28 days, compared with only 17 days if the burn happened during the day (8am to 8pm).

Writing in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the authors identify a key reason for this faster healing as skin cells moving to the site of the wound to repair it far quicker during the daytime.


Hoyle N et al (2017) Circadian actin dynamics drive rhythmic fibroblast mobilisation during wound healing. Science Translational Medicine. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aal2774

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