'Master regulator' of skin formation discovered

Mar 24, 2009

Researchers at Oregon State University have found one gene in the human body that appears to be a master regulator for skin development, in research that could help address everything from skin diseases such as eczema or psoriasis to the wrinkling of skin as people age.

Inadequate or loss of expression of this gene, called CTIP2, may play a role in some disorders, scientists believe, and understanding the mechanisms of gene action could provide a solution to them.

"We found that CTIP2 is a transcriptional factor that helps control different levels of skin development, including the final phase of a protective barrier formation," said Arup Indra, an OSU assistant professor of pharmacy. "It also seems particularly important in , which is relevant not only to certain skin diseases but also wrinkling and premature skin aging."

The findings of this research, done in collaboration with Mark Leid, OSU professor of pharmacy, were recently published in the . This work is supported by the National Institutes of Health, which has provided $1.5 million for its continuation.

Skin is actually the largest organ in the human body, and has important functions in protecting people from infection, toxins, microbes and . But it's not static - skin cells are constantly dying and being replaced by new cells, to the extent that human skin actually renews its surface layers every three to four weeks. Wrinkles, in fact, are a reflection of slower that occurs naturally with aging.

Major advances have been made in recent years in understanding how skin develops in space and time, and in recent breakthroughs scientists learned how to re-program adult skin cells into .

"When you think about therapies for or to address the effects of skin aging, basically you're trying to find ways to modulate the genetic network within cells and make sure they are doing their job," Indra said. "We now believe that CTIP2 might be the regulator that can do that. The next step will be to find ways to affect its expression."

One of the ways that some ancient botanical extracts or other compounds may accomplish their job in helping to rejuvenate skin, Indra said, is by stimulating gene expression. A more complete understanding of skin genetics might allow that process to be done more scientifically, effectively and permanently.

Source: Oregon State University (news : web)

Explore further: Growing a blood vessel in a week

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Another new wrinkle in treating skin aging

Jun 05, 2008

Topical applications of a naturally occurring fat molecule have the potential to slow down skin aging, whether through natural causes or damage, researchers report.

Psoriasis lesions loaded with newly discovered immune cell

Feb 22, 2008

A new study of psoriasis patients shows that a recently discovered immune cell, called Th17, appears to be a key player in the disease and occurs in far higher concentrations in their skin than occurs in skin of healthy individuals.

Small molecules may explain psoriasis

Jul 11, 2007

A research team at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet has shown for the time that microRNA, small RNA molecules, may play an important role in the development of inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis ...

Study uses bone marrow stem cells to regenerate skin

Jan 14, 2009

A new study suggests that adult bone marrow stem cells can be used in the construction of artificial skin. The findings mark an advancement in wound healing and may be used to pioneer a method of organ reconstruction. The ...

Recommended for you

Growing a blood vessel in a week

Oct 24, 2014

The technology for creating new tissues from stem cells has taken a giant leap forward. Three tablespoons of blood are all that is needed to grow a brand new blood vessel in just seven days. This is shown ...

Testing time for stem cells

Oct 24, 2014

DefiniGEN is one of the first commercial opportunities to arise from Cambridge's expertise in stem cell research. Here, we look at some of the fundamental research that enables it to supply liver and pancreatic ...

Team finds key signaling pathway in cause of preeclampsia

Oct 23, 2014

A team of researchers led by a Wayne State University School of Medicine associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology has published findings that provide novel insight into the cause of preeclampsia, the leading cause ...

Rapid test to diagnose severe sepsis

Oct 23, 2014

A new test, developed by University of British Columbia researchers, could help physicians predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis so they can begin treatment immediately.

User comments : 0