Reducing Skin Stress Response with Willow Bark-derived Salicin

Jul 1, 2010 | Contact Author | By: Remona Gopaul and Helen Knaggs, PhD, Nu Skin Global Research and Development; Anna Langerveld, PhD, Genemarkers LLC
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Title: Reducing Skin Stress Response with Willow Bark-derived Salicin
gene expressionx microarrayx salicinx heat shock proteinsx white willow barkx environmental stressx
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Keywords: gene expression | microarray | salicin | heat shock proteins | white willow bark | environmental stress

Abstract: Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are stress-induced and initiate a cascade of protective mechanisms when the skin is exposed to stressful conditions. In the present research, salicin extracted from white willow bark was found to influence the activity of HSPs through HSP70 and other key regulators.

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R Gopaul, H Knaggs and A Langerveld, Reducing skin stress response with willow bark-derived salicin, Cosm & Toil 125(7) 32-36 (Jul 2010)

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Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are functional proteins ubiquitously expressed in all organisms. Their expression is induced by elevated temperatures and other external stress factors. Research has shown that HSPs have several functions; for example, their expression protects cells from stress-induced damage. HSPs also act as molecular chaperones that bind to newly formed proteins to mediate their folding into the correct shape, ensuring proper functioning. In addition, they function in transport activities, interact with other molecules and mediate cellular apoptosis. Since HSPs play a significant role in regulating the processes associated with cellular protection and repair, they are an important target for topical ingredients that address skin aging, repair and/or protection from damaging conditions.

HSPs are classified by their molecular weight, size, structure and function. They are divided into several families, including: HSP100, HSP90, HSP70, HSP60, HSP40 and small heat shock proteins (sHSP). Recent skin research has focused on HSP70 and HSP27, a member of the sHSPs, which are predominantly expressed in keratinocytes. HSP27 expression increases simultaneously with keratinocyte differentiation and is considered a biomarker for cellular turnover in the epidermis. HSP70 helps to prevent melanocytes from undergoing apoptosis and since melanocytes protect cells from UV exposure, this could prevent skin damage caused by UV exposure.


Lab Practical: Formulating with Salicin

  • Salicin is a water-soluble white powder that can be employed in various aqueous delivery systems in gels, emulsions and suspensions.
  • Levels other than 0.5% have not been validated to deliver the benefits detailed in the present research.
  • Salicin is stable in its natural form and in solution; it has a shelf life of two years. 
  • Salicin is not self-preserved. As such, Gram-negative and Gram-positive preservation systems are recommended for salicin-containing formulations. 
  • The addition of glycols is also recommended for increased efficacy and stability.

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Figure 1. Expression of HSP70 with 0.5% salicin treatment

Figure 1. Expression of HSP70 with 0.5% salicin treatment

Human equivalent skin culture, when stimulated with 0.5% salicin (dissolved in water) for 24 hr, induced the expression of four members of the HSP70 family of proteins by twofold or higher when compared with the untreated control.

Figure 2. Expression of DNAJ co-chaperones with 0.5% salicin treatment

Figure 2. Expression of DNAJ co-chaperones with 0.5% salicin treatment

Exposure to salicin also induced the expression of HSP regulators and associated proteins in the human skin equivalent.

Footnotes [Gopaul 125(7)]

a The Affymetrix cDNA Microarray is produced by Affymetrix, Santa Clara, CA USA.

b The Epiderm FT (EFT-400) substrates used for this study are produced by MatTek Corp, Ashland, MA USA.

c The RNeasy Fibrous kit is produced by Qiagen, Valencia, CA USA.

d The 3’ IVT Express reverse transcription kit is a product of Affymetrix, Santa Clara, CA USA.

e The HG U133 Plus 2.0 microarray is a product of Affymetrix, Santa Clara, CA USA.

f GeneSpring GX10 is a software produced by Agilent Technologies, Santa Clara, CA USA

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