Dermatological researchers studying how skin ages in humans have discovered enzymatic activity that is directly related to skin ageing. A key enzyme found in the mitochondria of skin cells declines with age, reducing the bio-energy that the cell can produce and leading to aging. In plain English, this means that mitochondria, which are like the batteries of our cells, are unable to produce as much bio-energy, or power, for the skin cells, which causes the cells to work less efficiently and age.
An exciting press announcement on the Science Daily website provides the fascinating details:
A study, published online in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, has found that the activity of mitochondrial complex II significantly decreases in older skin.
This discovery brings experts a step closer to developing powerful anti-ageing treatments and cosmetic products which may be tailored to counteract the decline in the enzyme’s activity levels.
Findings may also lead to a greater understanding of how other organs in the body age, which could pave the way for drug developments in a number of age-related diseases, including cancer.
Mark Birch-Machin, Professor of Molecular Dermatology at Newcastle University, led the pioneering study with Dr Amy Bowman from his research group.
Professor Birch-Machin said: “As our bodies age we see that the batteries in our cells run down, known as decreased bio-energy, and harmful free radicals increase.
“This process is easily seen in our skin as increased fine lines, wrinkles and sagging appears. You know the story, or at least your mirror does first thing in the morning!
“Our study shows, for the first time, in human skin that with increasing age there is a specific decrease in the activity of a key metabolic enzyme found in the batteries of the skin cells.
“This enzyme is the hinge between the two important ways of making energy in our cells and a decrease in its activity contributes to decreased bio-energy in ageing skin.
“Our research means that we now have a specific biomarker, or a target, for developing and screening anti-ageing treatments and cosmetic creams that may counter this decline in bio-energy.
Having this very specific biomarker now makes new research into anti-aging treatments possible.
[Read on to learn the incredible details of how the study was completed and what the findings may mean for other tissues and organs in the body…]