'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: Research team treats brain injuries in mice using bone marrow stem cells and antioxidants

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

Organovo has 3D-printed liver tissue for drug testing

Nov 20, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—The commercial release of 3D printed liver tissue was announced earlier this week. Organovo is the company behind the release. The product is intended for use for preclinical drug discovery ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.