Molecular Biology in Future Skin and Hair Care

May 1, 2014 | Contact Author | By: Howard Epstein, PhD, EMD Chemicals, Philadelphia, USA
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Title: Molecular Biology in Future Skin and Hair Care
molecular biologyx epigeneticsx Nrf2 transcription factorx skin lipidsx
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Keywords: molecular biology | epigenetics | Nrf2 transcription factor | skin lipids

Abstract: Techniques developed in the field of molecular biology are currently being used to screen cosmeceutical ingredients for skin and hair care applications. New findings are published on a daily basis, providing insight with respect to future innovations for skin and hair health and appearance. Several relevant developments are reviewed here.

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H Epstein, Molecular Biology in Future Skin and Hair Care, Cosm & Toil 129(4) 38-44 (May 2014)

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Molecular cell biology is a field that investigates how cells develop, operate, communicate and control their activities. Cells communicate with body tissue, which is composed of cells. Tissue communicates with other tissues and organs throughout the body. Generally the transfer of information between cells, tissues and organs is through the interaction of proteins.

Techniques developed in the field of molecular biology are currently being used to screen cosmeceutical ingredients for skin and hair care applications. New findings are published on a daily basis, providing insight with respect to future innovations for skin and hair health and appearance. Several relevant developments are reviewed here.

Gene Expression and Epigenetics

Gene expression is the process by which information from a gene is used to direct the synthesis of a functional gene product—most frequently, a protein. Gene expression involves a large number of individual genes, and is a complex activity with many layers of control. It is a critical component of normal growth and development, and disruption or changes in gene expression are responsible for many diseases, as well as aging. UV radiation, chemical exposure, viruses, chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are all associated with skin conditions and aging. Recent publications also suggest that impaired cellular energy metabolism has an impact on the condition of skin.

Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression or cellular appearance caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence. Another way to describe epigenetics is the branch of molecular biology related to mechanisms that affect gene activity continually occurring inside the cells of the body. Epigenetic events do not alter the DNA of the cell, rather they change the shape and chemical behavior of the molecules that form DNA. These changes alter the instructions coded in the DNA. Changes in gene expression may be temporary or they may be passed down to the next generation. Epigenetic effects can by stimulated by the environment, lifestyle choices or what are currently perceived as random events, which commonly occur when DNA is being formed—mutations, for example.

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Table 1. Natural Materials With Nrf2 Activity

Table 1. Natural Materials With Nrf2 Activity

Natural ingredients that have been shown to provide skin benefits via the Nrf2 pathway, and their sources

Table 2. Common Phytochemicals and Their Modes of Action

Table 2. Common Phytochemicals and Their Modes of Action<sup17</sup>

The different ways phytochemicals provide benefits for health

Figure 1. The mechanism of Nrf2

Figure 1. The mechanism of Nrf2

Nrf2 is in the cytoplasm of cells and attached to the protein Keap 1. When oxidative stress reaches the cell, Nrf2 is released from Keap 1 and translocates to the cell nucleus. In the nucleus, Nrf2 binds to another protein, electrophile-response element (ARE), in the promoter region of the nucleus (shown as a dark rectangle). In this way, a variety of genes are activated through transcription. Source: openwetware.org/wiki/20.109_MOD3_Research_Proposal

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