Chemical consequences of cutaneous photoageing

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Abstract

Human skin, in common with other organs, ages as a consequence of the passage of time, but in areas exposed to solar ultraviolet radiation, the effects of this intrinsic ageing process are exacerbated. In particular, both the severity and speed of onset of age-related changes, such as wrinkle formation and loss of elasticity, are enhanced in photoaged (also termed extrinsically aged) as compared with aged, photoprotected, skin. The anatomy of skin is characterised by two major layers: an outer, avascular, yet highly cellular and dynamic epidermis and an underlying vascularised, comparatively static and cell-poor, dermis. The structural consequences of photoageing are mainly evident in the extracellular matrix-rich but cell-poor dermis where key extracellular matrix proteins are particularly susceptible to photodamage. Most investigations to date have concentrated on the cell as both a target for and mediator of, ultraviolet radiation-induced photoageing. As the main effectors of dermal remodelling produced by cells (extracellular proteases) generally have low substrate specificity, we recently suggested that the differential susceptibility of key extracellular matrix proteins to the processes of photoageing may be due to direct, as opposed to cell-mediated, photodamage.In this review, we discuss the experimental evidence for ultraviolet radiation (and related reactive oxygen species)-mediated differential degradation of normally long lived dermal proteins including the fibrillar collagens, elastic fibre components, glycoproteins and proteoglycans. Whilst these components exhibit highly diverse primary and hence macro- and supra-molecular structures, we present evidence that amino acid composition alone may be a useful predictor of age-related protein degradation in both photoexposed and, as a consequence of differential oxidation sensitivity, photoprotected, tissues. © 2012 Thurstan et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Article number34
JournalChemistry Central Journal
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2012

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