Shiseido Uncovers Heroes and Villains in Skin Aging


The behavior of specific actors in the aging/anti-aging skin process were recently highlighted by Shiseido. While the mechanisms of senescent cells were confirmed to propogate skin aging, dermal stem cells suppressed this action. In relation, an iris extract could attract said stem cells, suggesting a possible future solution. 

Through a joint initiative with Kyoichi Matsuzaki, a professor at the International University of Health and Welfare School of Medicine, and the National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Shiseido researchers confirmed that senescent cells, which develop in skin with aging, are associated with further deterioration in the functions of surrounding normal cells. These, in turn, cause aging-related changes in skin.

Dendrite Dynamics

Age-related facial wrinkles and sagging are chiefly caused by the degradation of the dermal layer with aging; however, the exact mechanism had not previously been known. During this work, the team developed a technology for electron microscopy analysis, decribed previously, capable of observing even minute changes in cell shape.

Analysis of the dermal layer with this technology showed that dermal cells (fibroblasts) in young subjects have several dendrites, whereas those of aged subjects lose dendrites and change shape. The results also showed these aged cells have a negative influence on surrounding skin cells, as they release an aging factor that propagates further aging.

In contrast, however, further research revealed that dermal stem cells inhibited the propagation of aging.

Stem Cell Anti-aging

According to Shiseido, in the search for methods to inhibit the propagation of aging, it was discovered that dermal stem cells suppress the production of the described aging factor. In addition, dermal stem cells, as identified by a positive expression of stem cell markers, were significantly reduced with aging but well-maintained around nearby sebaceous glands, even in aged skin. Researchers concluded the sebaceous glands act as a “reservoir,” storing stem cells in the nearby skin site. 

Iris Effects

Based on the described work, researchers hypothesized that inducing the generation of stem cells from reservoirs and transferring them into the aged dermal layer, the propagation of aging could be inhibited, and the dermal layer maintained.

In relation, the Shiseido team noted initial findings that iris extract, in particular, appears to attract dermal stem cells, suggesting a possible product solution. Specific details were not disclosed in a related press announcement. Shiseido will apply these new findings to future product development.

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