ECM-derived Tetrapeptide to Counterbalance ECM Degeneration

The extracellular matrix (ECM) is the structural backbone of many tissues, especially the skin, and represents a main target for cosmetic applications. ECM proteins are believed to play a pivotal role in cellular migration, proliferation and gene regulation during wound healing. Fragments from ECM constituents have been found capable of stimulating ECM biosynthesis to compensate for tissue destruction.1 Their mechanisms have been implicated in wound healing, skin aging and skin’s response to UV irradiation;2, 3 from this knowledge, new actives have evolved, as the authors describe here.

Building from the concept that ECM constituents stimulate ECM biosynthesis, bioinformatic methods were employed to identify highly repetitive amino acid motifs with inherent antiaging activities. Several dozens of tetrapeptides were found scattered across sequences of the major ECM macro- molecules.4 Ten peptides showed the desired effect of significantly increasing collagen protein in supernatant, thus verifying the underlying assumption that breakdown products of ECM proteins stimulate the ECM neosynthesis.

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