The research, published in the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists (IFSCC) Magazine highlights the ability of the extract to help fight against the formation of wrinkles. The scientists, led by Martina Hermann from Symrise, recorded the effect the extract had on matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), enzymes that play an important role in skin ageing. MMPs are enzymes that break down extracellular matrix proteins, performing many diverse functions. Their role in skin ageing is due to the fact that they degrade both collagen and elastin, leading to a loss of elastictity and firmness of human skin. In addition, radiation with UV rays, particularly UVA rays, increase MMP levels, leading to photo ageing. The scientists found that blackberry leaf extract works as an MMP inhibitor, particularly MMP-1, believed to be responsible for the degradation of collagen type I and type II, the major skin collagens. The study investigated whether the extract decreased the MMP-1 expression in both non-irradiated and UVA-irradiated primary human dermal fibroblasts, in vitro. The extract at concentration of 0.01 per cent reduced the amount of MMP-1 protein in non-irradiated cells by 46 per cent and in UVA-irradiated cells by 54 per cent. In contrast, almost complete inhibition was obtained with the 0.1 per cent blackberry lead extract, with a 72 per cent decrease in non-irradiated cells and 92 per cent in irradiated cells. In addition the team investigated the anti-oxidant properties of the extract, which they found to be similar to that of green tea. According to the scientists the blackberry leaf extract is made up of many functional ingredients, such as polyphenolic compounds and flavanoids, which means that the efficacy of the extract cannot be attributed to any one ingredient. The success of the in vitro trials has prompted the company to launch ex vivo trials, using abdominal skin samples from human patients. The results of the test should be available before the end of the year, Dr Dirk Sorgenfrey, Global Product Manager at Symrise, told CosmeticsDesign. According to Sorgenfrey the extract is suitable for a wide range of anti-ageing formulations, including creams and lotions for both the face and the body. The extract is not available in any products on the market at present, however it is currently in the evaluation phase with several potential customers, Sorgenfrey added. Blackberry leaf extract has long been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of many ailments including light inflammation and diarrhoea and was approved for such use by the Commission E, a German body that licences the use of herbal products for particular remedies.