Expression of certain genes may be key to more youthful looking skin

November 28, 2017
skin
Human skin structure. Credit: Wikipedia

Some individuals' skin appears more youthful than their chronologic age. Although many people try to achieve this with creams, lotions, injections, and surgeries, new research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology indicates that increased expression of certain genes may be the key to intrinsically younger looking—and younger behaving—skin.

"It's not just the you are born with, but which ones turn on and off over time," said lead author Alexa B. Kimball, MD, MPH, a dermatologist and President and CEO of Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, who conducted research for the study while previously at Massachusetts General Hospital. "We found a wide range of processes in the affected by aging, and we discovered specific in who appear younger than their chronologic age."

To produce a comprehensive model of aging skin, Kimball and her colleagues collected and integrated data at the molecular, cellular, and tissue levels from the sun-exposed skin (face and forearm) and sun-protected skin (buttocks) of 158 white women ages 20 to 74 years. As part of the study, the team looked for gene expression patterns common in women who appeared years younger than their chronologic age.

The physical appearance of facial skin was captured through digital images and analysis. Skin samples were processed for analysis and saliva samples were collected for genotyping.

The analyses revealed progressive changes from the 20s to the 70s in pathways related to , energy metabolism, senescence (aging) and skin barrier. These changes were accelerated in the 60s and 70s. Comparing sun-exposed and sun-protected skin samples revealed that certain genetic changes are likely due to photoaging.

The gene expression patterns from the women in the study who were younger appearing were similar to those in women who were actually younger in age. These women had increased activity in genes associated with basic biologic processes, including DNA repair, cell replication, response to oxidative stress, and protein metabolism. Women with exceptionally youthful-appearing facial skin in older age groups also had higher expression of genes associated with mitochondrial structure and metabolism, overall epidermal structure, and barrier function in their facial epidermal samples, as well as dermal matrix production.

A better understanding of the genes associated with youthful-appearing skin may point to new strategies to enhance factors that slow the skin's aging process. This work also confirmed that ultraviolent (UV) exposure is a main driver and accelerator of skin aging.

"We were particularly surprised by the identification of a group of women who not only displayed a much more youthful skin appearance than would be expected based on their chronological age, but who also presented a specific mimicking the biology of much younger skin. It seems that their skin looked younger because it behaved younger," Kimball noted.

"Improving our understanding of which choices and factors led to this specific profile is likely to be of great interest across the ages."

Explore further: Women seen as younger when eyes, lips and eyebrows stand out

Related Stories

Women seen as younger when eyes, lips and eyebrows stand out

October 11, 2017
Aspects of facial contrast, a measure of how much facial features stand out in the face, decrease with age in women across a variety of ethnic groups, finds a study in open access journal Frontiers in Psychology. The study ...

Collagen controlling the thickness and juvenile state of skin

July 11, 2017
Type XVII collagen (COL17) is found to regulate the proliferation of epidermal cells and therefore the thickness of juvenile and aged skin, suggesting COL17 can potentially be used for future anti-aging strategies.

Topical retinol induces skin changes similar to retinoic acid

November 25, 2015
(HealthDay)—Both retinol and retinoic acid have beneficial effects on cellular and molecular properties of the epidermis and dermis, according to a study published online Nov. 18 in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

Genes may hold the key to aging skin

March 16, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Your DNA might help dictate how your skin changes with age, one expert says.

How old do you look? Study finds an answer in our genes

April 28, 2016
Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 28 have found a gene that helps explain why some people appear more youthful than others.

Four ways to look younger longer

July 14, 2017
(HealthDay)—There's no escaping the fact that there'll be another birthday candle on your cake this year, but that doesn't mean your skin has to give away your age.

Recommended for you

How defeating THOR could bring a hammer down on cancer

December 14, 2017
It turns out Thor, the Norse god of thunder and the Marvel superhero, has special powers when it comes to cancer too.

Researchers track muscle stem cell dynamics in response to injury and aging

December 14, 2017
A new study led by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) describes the biology behind why muscle stem cells respond differently to aging or injury. The findings, published in Cell Stem Cell, ...

'Human chronobiome' study informs timing of drug delivery, precision medicine approaches

December 13, 2017
Symptoms and efficacy of medications—and indeed, many aspects of the human body itself—vary by time of day. Physicians tell patients to take their statins at bedtime because the related liver enzymes are more active during ...

Time of day affects severity of autoimmune disease

December 12, 2017
Insights into how the body clock and time of day influence immune responses are revealed today in a study published in leading international journal Nature Communications. Understanding the effect of the interplay between ...

Estrogen discovery could shed new light on fertility problems

December 12, 2017
Estrogen produced in the brain is necessary for ovulation in monkeys, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who have upended the traditional understanding of the hormonal cascade that leads to release ...

3-D printed microfibers could provide structure for artificially grown body parts

December 12, 2017
Much as a frame provides structural support for a house and the chassis provides strength and shape for a car, a team of Penn State engineers believe they have a way to create the structural framework for growing living tissue ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.