Wrinkles No More
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elephant You know, aging is tough on women, but I’m not sure I hate it any less than they do. Yeah, my wife may hate the wrinkles, but I dread hair loss. I know it’s cosmetic but it hurts to look in the mirror sometimes, so what if we could reverse or slow its process? Well, one study is pointing scientists to the mitochondria which may be key to the aging of our skin.

The mitochondria are small membrane bound structures inside every cell and are essential in producing almost all the energy the cell needs. The mitochondria also has DNA, like the cell nucleus, that encodes products the mitochondria needs. When we age, mitochondrial DNA depletes.

To understand their role in aging, scientists developed a mouse model in which they can turn on a mutated gene that causes the mitochondria to lose DNA. Among the first changes are wrinkled skin and lots of hair loss all within four to eight weeks. Female mice developed more severe wrinkles than male mice. But there was little change to the other organs suggesting the importance of mitochondria to skin.

All the symptoms were reversed by turning off the mutated gene which further established, at least in mice, the vital role of mitochondria in skin aging and hair loss. Among the skin changes seen in mice were an increase in the number of skin cells, thickening of the outer layer, dysfunctional hair follicles as well as inflammation.

Scientists were surprised to find that the mitochondria played such a large role in skin aging and hair loss. This may help researchers create products to counteract the process. Perhaps we can turn the clock back after all. With more of us expected to live past 95 years old, a bit of wrinkle cream would go a long way.

For more information…

Scientists reverse aging-associated skin wrinkles and hair loss in a mouse model
A gene mutation causes wrinkled skin and hair loss; turning off that mutation restores the mouse to normal appearance...

Mechanisms of aging and development—A new understanding of environmental damage to the skin and prevention with topical antioxidants
Recent research has given us new insights into the molecular biology of extrinsic aging of the skin. Not only does UV irradiation directly cause photoaging of the skin, but also environmental pollutants significantly damage exposed skin by several mechanisms...