STATES CHRONICLE — A team of United States researchers may have found a way to stop scars from forming and also maintain a person’s skin smooth as we age.
Scars and wrinkles are a known cause of discomfort. Many people invest quite heavily in anti-aging treatments. Others, in their turn, try to cover up scars. Various options are already available for both potential discomforts.
However, a team of American scientists may have found a common solution. They have been studying fat cells or adipocytes. Their research revealed an innovative fact.
The team of researchers came from the Perelman School of Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania. They were also joined by University of California, Irvine researchers. These are part of the Pikus Laboratory for Development and Regenerative Biology.
Research was led by George Cotsarelis. He is the chair of the Department of Dermatology at Penn University. Their study was released earlier this month in the Science journal. It was published on January 05 and titled as follows. “Regeneration of fat cells from myofibroblasts during wound healing”.
Their studies could lead to a promising new method. A treatment which could potentially minimize scar wounds. It might also significantly improve wound healing.
Fat cells are behind these potential new therapies. These are also called adipocytes. The body heals a cut or laceration with help from myofibroblasts.
These latter are cell types which secret a muscle protein. They also help contract an injury. A contraction leads the way to scars. However, the repair process does not generate hair follicles. As such, the respective area and scar tissue will stand out. Adipocytes were seen to help maintain the skin’s uniform appearance.
The current research is based on previous finds. Through it, research has shown that myofibroblasts can be influenced. These could be instructed so as to turn into fat cells. Such a process was previously considered as being impossible.
Cotsarelis, the aforementioned study lead, went to offer details. According to him, the conversion will be an added benefit. Essentially, it could change wound healing into skin regeneration. As such, the area would still heal. But it would also not scar. Even if it would, the scars will reportedly be less visible.
The transformation can be traced back to hair follicles. These would have to be regenerated first. Studies show that fat cells will then regenerate as they respond to the latter’s signals.
Hair follicles and fat cells develop separately. However, research showed that one process is not independent of the other.
As such, the follicles could be used to direct myofibroblasts. These latter can be determined to regenerate as fat and not scars. Laboratory tests have been carried out. They targeted mice and culture grown human keloid cells. These have been noted to heal with a natural appearance. No scars formed during the said process.
The discovery could have many implications. It might allow for a scar-free healing process. But its potential applications surpass this stage. An increased level of fat cells would have broader implications.
Fat cells are naturally lost when aging. They also disappear during various diseases treatments.
Cotsarelis expressed his hope for a new regeneration strategy. This might help increase adipocyte levels in wrinkled skin. As such, new anti-aging treatments could appear.
The lead also pointed out his team’s future plans. His lab will be further researching hair and skin regeneration processes. At the same time, U.C. Irvine lab scientists will maintain the current direction. They will be examining further aspects of skin wound determined cell reprogramming.
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