Skin Science from Procter & Gamble

I came across this article on gene expression research from Procter & Gamble’s skin science website:  www.pgbeautygroomingscience.com.  P & G’s site has many excellent  and readable synopsis of research results on skin health and aging.  Below is verbatim from this site.  The photos of young vs. old skin are not available to view unless you go directly to P & G’s site.

Gene Expression Research Reveals Causes of Wrinkles, Age Spots

In the past, scientists studying aging skin have looked at various skin properties – thickness, color, moisture barrier, proteins, and internal cell structures. Today, P&G Beauty scientists are studying the differences between young and aged skin at the most fundamental level possible – gene expression. “The expression of your genetic code as it reacts to environmental change controls all the metabolic processes necessary for good skin health and function,” says P&G Beauty geneticist Dr. Jay Tiesman, PhD. “Now we understand which genes become either disabled or overactive as your skin gets older, resulting in the physiological changes we see as wrinkles and age spots.”

Young vs. Old, Protected vs. Exposed

Research analyzed skin samples collected from ten young and ten aged female subjects (18-20 and 60-67 years). Scientists collected skin biopsies of buttocks to test intrinsically aged skin and biopsies of forearms for extrinsically aged skin. The buttock and forearm biopsies were selected because of their relative exposure, or lack thereof, to environmental elements that may impact aging. Additionally, Affymetrix gene chip technology was used to examine the gene expression differences in the samples to reveal the underlying biological mechanisms responsible for the appearance of skin aging. The study allowed scientists to identify pathways that are active in young skin but inactive in old skin, as well as those that are overly active in older skin.

Young and old skin biopsies

Young and old skin biopsies

Sun Exposure Alters Skin Immune Function

One provocative finding was that aging associated with environmental factors, such as UV, not only accelerated the changes in natural aging genes as expected, but also turned on other gene responses. For example, the study demonstrates the magnitude of altered immune and inflammatory gene expression resulting from the photodamage process. This is important as recent scientific literature shows that UV-altered immune response in skin can increase susceptibility to skin cancer.

Driving Future Skin Anti-Aging Advances

This research is expected to drive breakthrough advances in both prevention and treatment of the signs of aging skin over the coming decades. By understanding how the expression of specific genes are modulated by the aging process, scientists now have the means to develop treatments to modify those processes that age skin considerably. “In the future, certain processes such as inflammation, proteolysis, lipid biosynthesis, or cellular differentiation, known to be involved in the breakdown of skin as it ages, may be able to be regulated,” speculates Dr. Michael Robinson, Principal Scientist, P&G Global Biotechnology, lead author on the study.

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