Phototherapy has been used for centuries to treat various skin disorders. Numerous inflammatory skin diseases, such as atopic dermatitis and pigment disorders like vitiligo and psoriasis, benefit from ultraviolet light treatment. Psoralen-containing plants have been used for centuries in popular medicine to treat vitiligo, a skin disease characterized by lack of pigmentation. Further advancement in treatments using different psoralen molecules should strive to decrease the possibility of long-term side effects such as cutaneous malignancies. One of the directions for continued refinement of photochemotherapy in the future, as well as one of the new paradigms associated with photochemotherapy itself, is development of other psoralen molecules that do not form bifunctional adducts, which provide a basis for the DNA crosslinking. One such class of furanocoumarins is the methylangelicins (angular furanocoumarins) which only forms monofunctional adducts. There is clearly a theoretical basis that monofunctional adducts would less likely promote cutaneous malignancies as compared to bifunctional adducts. In this review we wish to present recent pharmacological approaches of furanocoumarins, particularly angular furanocoumarins, and a detailed investigation on the photocytotoxicity exerted by these compounds. Furthermore the edible vegetables and fruits which contain these compounds are showed.
Keywords: Psoriasis, vitiligo, phototherapy, natural and synthetic furanocoumarins
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