Key target for potential anti-ageing products discovered

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London, Feb 26 (IANS) Researchers have found that the activity of a key metabolic enzyme in human skin cells declines with age, thereby providing experts a target countering which can lead to anti-ageing treatments and cosmetic products.

“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,” said lead researcher Mark Birch-Machin, professor at Newcastle University in England.

“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,” Birch-Machin noted.

The study, published online in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, found that the activity of mitochondrial complex II significantly decreases in older skin.

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“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,” Birch-Machin pointed out.

“There is now a possibility of finding anti-ageing treatments which can be tailored to differently aged and differently pigmented skin, and with the additional possibility to address the ageing process elsewhere in our bodies,” Birch-Machin noted.

The researchers believe that the 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.

For the study, complex II activity was measured in 27 donors, from aged six to 72 years. Samples were taken from a sun-protected area of skin to determine if there was a difference in activity with increasing age.

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It was found that complex II activity significantly declined with age.

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