MSC-CM Supports Skin Restoration and Rejuvenation

17/03/2024 Quản Trị

Skin naturally ages as the body ages or is exposed to external factors such as weather, environmental elements, or harmful substances, causing internal and external changes in the skin. Signs of skin aging include dryness, reduced elasticity, wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and dark spots. The causes of skin aging are both intrinsic factors within the body (genetic factors, cellular metabolism, and metabolic/hormonal processes) and external factors [1, 2].

Causes of skin aging

Researchers indicate that only about 3% of the factors causing skin aging are intrinsic, with the majority attributed to external factors [3]. Prolonged exposure to UV rays (solar ultraviolet) is a prevalent external factor that leads to skin aging. Exposure to ultraviolet rays initiates a series of molecular reactions within cells [4] and induces DNA mutations – one of the molecules that absorb ultraviolet rays [5]. The impact of UV rays can result in cell division disruption, transcriptional interruptions, and p53 gene mutations (a tumor suppressor gene), leading to uncontrolled cell cycle and posing risks to the synthesis of keratinocytes and melanocytes, ultimately contributing to skin tumors [5-7].

Additionally, UVB rays stimulate the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and free radicals that harm cells, such as causing DNA mutations, carbonizing protein bonds, lipid peroxidation, inducing apoptosis in keratinocytes, or stimulating keratinocytes to release pro-inflammatory factors (e.g., IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-α) [8]. UV rays also activate the transcription factor nuclear factor kappa β (NF-kβ), increasing the transcription and production of inflammatory cytokines and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP), leading to extracellular matrix protein degradation [8]. UV rays also alter the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) metabolic factors. TGF-β controls the synthesis of collagen and elastin, proteins crucial for skin structure, thereby causing wrinkles, coarseness, and changes in skin pigmentation [8].

Anti-Aging Technologies

Currently, various technologies are used to slow down or even reverse the aging process of the skin. Popular products include sunscreen to protect the skin from UV damage, skincare products containing vitamins C and E as antioxidants capable of reducing the effects of free radicals and shielding the skin from environmental damage, moisturizers containing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and glycerin to hydrate the skin, and products containing retinol, a form of vitamin A, with the ability to stimulate collagen synthesis, keeping the skin firm and youthful. In addition to these, methods such as laser treatments, radiofrequency waves, fillers, and even surgical procedures can be used to minimize signs of skin aging, providing individuals with a fresh and healthy skin surface.

Skin Rejuvenation Therapy with Stem Cells and Stem Cell Secretome

The combination of stem cells with the body’s growth factors has recently been introduced as a promising new treatment strategy for skin rejuvenation. Stem cells can contribute to skin rejuvenation through the secretion of secretomes, which include exosomes and microvesicles—lipid membrane-enclosed proteins containing biological substances such as proteins, microRNAs, and mRNAs [9]. The secretome from stem cells contains various extracellular matrix proteins such as cytokines, growth factors, and genetic material that can stimulate signaling pathways to promote the proliferation of skin cells and create a foundation that firms the skin [10, 11]. Several growths factors have been proven beneficial in wound healing and/or regenerating the dermis and epidermis, including transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and fibroblast growth factor (FGF) [12].

Specifically, PDGF is a growth factor that controls cell migration, differentiation, and functional activity of various mesenchymal stem cells and specialized cell types, inducing and stimulating cell proliferation in connective tissue, including the skin  [13, 14]. In the skin, VEGF-A stimulates the formation of new blood vessels to provide nutrition to the skin [15]. Thus, well-nourished skin cells become soft and function well in synthesizing skin proteins, contributing to smooth and healthy skin. Additionally, the growth factors HGF and FGF stimulate cell proliferation and increase the synthesis of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid, which are responsible for the skin’s firmness, elasticity, and moisture content [16]. Furthermore, TGF-β in the skin inhibits the synthesis of the extracellular matrix, stimulates fibroblast growth, and synthesizes collagen and laminin V proteins, which are the foundation proteins of the skin [17]. At the same time, TGF-β inhibits the synthesis of matrix-degrading substances such as matrix metalloproteinase enzymes  [17]. Therefore, TGF-β is essential to maintaining the healthy state of the skin and supporting overall functions that help maintain a youthful appearance.

Laboratory experiments and preclinical model tests have demonstrated the effectiveness of regenerating and restoring the skin through the controlled environment and secretome, using both subcutaneous injection and surface application methods. Factors secreted by stem cells are particularly beneficial in preventing signs of skin aging by promoting the growth and proliferation of epidermal cells, fibroblast stem cells, and various specialized cells, inducing and stimulating the proliferation of cells in connective tissue, including the skin [11, 18]. For example, the controlled environment for cultivating precursor stem cells containing growth factors and cytokines significantly promotes the formation and migration of fibroblast and cornification cells, as well as the increased synthesis of collagen [10]. Additionally, skin tightness and elasticity improve after stimulation of collagen and elastin synthesis by the secretome from mesenchymal stem cells [10, 19].

Certain growth factors, such as TGF-β and the secretome from mesenchymal stem cells, also demonstrate whitening effects and showcase their roles by inhibiting pigment formation or repairing damaged skin due to light exposure [20-22]. Furthermore, we observe the remarkable effectiveness of the controlled environment in stimulating the thickening of the epidermal layer [23], reducing wrinkles, and minimizing pore size [24]. Therefore, the secretome and controlled environment of mesenchymal stem cells has significant potential applications in skin rejuvenation.

The use of secretome from mesenchymal stem cells proves to be encouraging in supporting skin recovery and instilling confidence in users. This method is considered safe and non-invasive, aligning with current beauty trends.


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