A new study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology by researchers from Newcastle University and titled “Age-Dependent Decrease of Mitochondrial Complex II Activity in Human Skin Fibroblasts” reveals that scientists are a step away from making a breakthrough in defeating old age.
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The researchers discovered that mitochondrial complex II, a key metabolic enzyme found in human skin cells reduces as an individual ages. This discovery can help researchers to develop powerful anti-aging treatments and cosmetic products that counteract the decline of this enzyme in older skin.
Apart from this, scientists could have a better insight into how organs in the body age, helping them to develop drugs to effectively overcome age-related diseases such as cancer and arthritis among others. The research was led by Mark Birch-Machin, professor of Molecular Dermatology at Newcastle University.
“As our bodies age we see that the batteries in our cells run down, known as decreased bio-energy, and harmful free radicals increase,” Professor Birch-Machin said.
“This process is easily seen in our skin as increased fine lines, wrinkles and sagging appears. 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,” he said.
Since the enzyme provides the energy our body cells need to function and live, a decrease in the enzyme leads to decrease in the amount of bio-energy available to our skin, leading to skin wrinkles and degradation. With drugs now developed to address aging skins and pigmented area of our body, the aging process could not be fully addressed in time to come.
The activity of the enzyme mitochondrial complex II was examined in 27 volunteers aged 6-72 years, with samples of skin cells taken from areas protected from direct sunlight on the body and those exposed to sunlight.
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Using a number of techniques to analyze the activities of the enzymes within the mitochondria that makes energy for the skin cells, the researchers found complex II activity reduced with age per unit of mitochondria.