Objective: During aging, skin undergoes structural, cellular and molecular changes, which not only alter skin mechanical properties but also biological and physiological functions. Structurally the epidermis becomes thinner, the dermal epidermal junction flattens and the extra-cellular matrix component of the dermis is disorganized and degraded. The dermis is composed of two compartments: The Reticular dermis is the deepest and thickest part while the upper layer, the papillary dermis, which is much thinner and is in close contact with epidermis, plays an important role in the structure and function of the skin. We have recently shown that the papillary dermis was preferentially affected by skin aging because the activity of fibroblasts in this region was especially altered as a function of age. The purpose of this study was to investigate the capacity of a flax extract as anti-aging component.
Method: We investigated the capacity of a flax extract to stimulate or restore the activity of papillary fibroblasts from young and old donors in cultured monolayers and in reconstructed skin. Several biological markers of extracellular matrix homeostasis and mechanical properties were investigated.
Results: The tested flax extract seemed to improve parameters known to change with age: I/ In monolayers after treatment the number of aged fibroblasts increased II/ In reconstructed skin the flax extract appears to positively regulate some biological activities; particularly in aged fibroblasts where the deposition of laminin 5, fibrillin 1, procollagen I were increased in the dermis and the secretion of specific soluble factors like MMP1, MMP3 and KGF were regulated to levels similar to those observed in young fibroblasts III/ Mechanical properties were improved particularly for elastics parameters (R5, R2 and R7).
Conclusion: The flax extract is a promising anti-aging compound. The treatment of aged papillary fibroblasts resulted in a return to a younger-like profile for some of the studied parameters.