An amazing new study that can stop all the problems of aging at its root has recently come to light. The findings suggest not only a cure to wrinkles and aging but also to a variety of deadly skin infections.
What happens when you age?
As people age, their skin loses elasticity, luster, and plumpness. This is due to reduced production of collagen and fibroblasts, which are essential connective tissue providing shape and support from deep within the skin layers.
Discovery of a new specialized cell
The study by researchers from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine has discovered a specialized cell type in the skin. This cell termed dermal fibroblasts was found in the deep layers of the skin functioning to continuously generate new connective tissue and aid in skin recovery. The fibroblasts also increase the plumpness of the skin by transforming themselves into fat cells and depositing themselves below the skin. Along with this, the fibroblasts also secrete a protein peptide, which has a crucial action in defending the skin from external infections.
The findings from the study revealed the underlying process of fibroblast’s conversion into fat cells. The study has also discovered the root cause of the cessation of this process with aging.
Richard Gallo, chair of the Department of Dermatology at UC San Diego School of Medicine and senior author on the study has said: “We have discovered how the skin loses the ability to form fat during aging.” Gallo stated, “Loss of the ability of fibroblasts to convert into fat affects how the skin fights infections and will influence how the skin looks during aging.”
Warning: Don’t go binging yet!
However, before you go on a food binge, beware! Gaining weight doesn’t mean the fibroblasts will get converted into the desired location of fat cells. It will simply worsen the aging problem with added issues of obesity followed by obesity-related diseases.
A better definite way may soon be available to stop the cessation of fibroblasts conversion into fat cells. Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) is a protein that has the ability to inhibit the conversion of fibroblasts into fat cells. This protein also reduces the skin’s natural immunity against bacterial infection by preventing the release of the antimicrobial peptide from the fibroblast cells.
Richard Gallo has said in a news statement “Babies have a lot of this type of fat under the skin, making their skin inherently good at fighting some types of infections. Aged dermal fibroblasts lose this ability and the capacity to form fat under the skin,” Gallo added “Skin with a layer of fat under it looks more youthful. When we age, the appearance of the skin has a lot to do with the loss of fat.”
In the study, mouse models were injected with chemical blockers that impeded the TGF-β pathway. Interfering with this pathway resulted in the reversal of cells to a younger functioning ability. It also permitted the conversion of fibroblasts into fat cells.
When researchers used genetic methods to inhibit the pathway, similar results were obtained. The research has promising findings with long-term goals of understanding the infant immune system.