What are different types of melanins? And what are the
functions of these types?
Melanin is a dark compound or better a photoprotective pigment.
Its major role in the skin is to absorb the ultraviolet (UV) light
that comes from the sun so the skin is not damaged. Sun exposure
usually produces a tan at the skin that represents an increase of
melanin pigment in the skin.
Melanin is important also in other areas of the body, as the eye and
the brain., but it is not completely understood what the melanin
pigment does in these areas.
Melanin forms a special cell called melanocyte. This cell is found
in the skin, in the hair follicle, and in the iris and retina of the eye.
Melanin is formed from the amino acid called tyrosine. in the
formation path 2 types are formed: eumelanin (black-brown) and
pheomelanin (red-blond). Very little is known about difference in
functions of the 2 kinds of melanin.
The lack of melanin causes albinism, with many disagreable conditions,
as lack of skin protection and vision problems.
Thanks for asking NEWTON!
(Dr.. Mabel Rodrigues)
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Update: June 2012