News Release

Reconstructed human skin accelerates understanding of sensoriality loss along aging

Long term partnership between the D'Or Institute for Research and Education, L´Oréal Brazil, UFRJ and EPISKIN identified a key factor altering skin physiology during aging

Peer-Reviewed Publication

D'Or Institute for Research and Education

A study recently published in the scientific Journal Neurobiology of Aging, developed in partnership between researchers from L’Oréal Brasil, the D’Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR), UFRJ and EPISKIN, advanced in the understanding of changes in skin physiology over the years and the consequent loss of skin sensoriality. The research, carried out with a model of human reconstructed skin RHE from EPISKIN, showed that the formation of aggregates of proteins already known to degenerate neurons, contributes to skin aging.

The researchers found that alpha-synuclein aggregates cause thinning of the skin because they trigger inflammation and reduce cell multiplication. Alpha-synuclein is a protein known to aggregate in the brain and damage certain regions that culminate in Parkinson's disease. “Now we are revealing that this same protein can accumulate in the skin and cause a degeneration similar to aging”, revealed Marília Zaluar Guimarães, who leads the study together with Stevens Rehen, both from UFRJ/IDOR. “It is possible that this accumulation is accelerated by exposure to ultraviolet, and that the sensory neurons themselves are the source of the protein”, says the researcher.

“The action of these clusters in the brain had already been identified as a causative agent for diseases such as Alzheimer and Parkinson disease. In 2019, L’Oréal scientists, in collaboration with McGill University, identified for the first time the presence of these clusters in the skin. ‘’Our recent study sheds light on the role of these clusters suggesting that the agglomeration of these proteins in the skin may be related to an increase in its fragility with aging”, says Rodrigo De Vecchi, CEO of Episkin in Brazil. According to the study, these clusters can also impact sensory neurons in the skin, responsible for transmitting touch sensations to the brain, in addition to being related to the thinning of the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of our skin.

The changes that occur in the senses with age, such as loss of vision and hearing, are widely studied. However, the physiological changes in the skin and the tactile loss still need a better understanding. The decrease in the sensoriality of the aging skin has psychological implications, such as the lack of feeling of well-being when applying a product or during a hug. Moreover, the deterioration of this sensoriality can directly impact the quality of life exposing the subjects to additional risks related to decrease in the perception of changes in temperature or textures added Dr. De Vecchi.

L'Oréal Group pioneered the development of reconstructed human skin as a key tool for skin and human tissue research. In 2017, in partnership with IDOR, L’Oréal introduced sensory neurons allowing the identification of the mechanism of action of these protein clusters.

This discovery opens the way for further research to understand the mechanisms to prevent the accumulation of these proteins throughout aging, as well as the development of products that stimulate the sensoriality of aged skin.


* Publication references: Júlia T. Oliveira, Vanja Dakic, Gabriela Vitória, Carolina da S.G. Pedrosa, Mayara Mendes, Luiz Guilherme H.S. Aragão, Thyago R. Cardim-Pires, Damien Lelièvre, Daniel Rodrigues Furtado, Roberta O. Pinheiro, Débora Foguel, Lionel Breton, Charbel Bouez, Rodrigo De Vecchi, Marília Zaluar P. Guimarães, Stevens Rehen, Oligomeric α-Synuclein induces skin degeneration in reconstructed human epidermis, Neurobiology of Aging,Volume 113,2022, Pages 108-117, ISSN 0197-4580,

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