Scientists outline mechanism linking skin microbiome to ageing in new product drive

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Scientists outline mechanism linking skin microbiome to ageing

Related tags skin microbiome Streptococcus Ageing

Korean scientists are claiming a world first in findings that suggests a mechanism linking the skin microbiome with ageing that the team says opens the door to a next generation of anti-aging cosmetics.

Writing in Nature Communications Biology​, the team detail Streptococcus​-secreted spermidine’s role in skin structure recovery and barrier function via an increase in collagen and lipid synthesis in aged cells.

“Discovering the correlation mechanism between the skin microbiome and aging is a feat that was achieved through six years of hard work,"​ said Park Myeong-sam, R&I Centre director at COSMAX, the Korean-based cosmetics firm behind the study.

"The technology super gap will be used in the next generation of anti-aging cosmetics and biomaterials in the global market."

Along with scientists from the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), the study takes a closer look at the Streptococcus​ species and its role in skin health.

Recent advances in high-throughput deep sequencing of the bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) has enabled researchers to analyse the skin microbiome.

The latest findings strengthen claims that changes in the skin microbiome alter skin conditions and cause diseases such as acne, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis.

Further investigations point strongly towards the existence of the gut–skin axis as shown by the absorption of probiotics through the intestinal tract.

However, this research has only focused on the indirect role of the microbiome in improving skin conditions, where this research purports to provide evidence of the skin microbiome on skin health.

Streptococcus blend

The team began isolating Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus infantis, ​and Streptococcus thermophilus​ from face of young individuals.

These microbial community samples were collected from the faces of 52 participants of varying ages and gender using sterilized tape.

Detailed analysis found treatment with secretions of S. pneumoniae​ and S. infantis​ induced gene expression linked to the formation of skin structure and the skin barrier function in human skin cells.

The application of the Streptococcal​ culture supernatant on human skin showed notable improvements on skin phenotypes such as elasticity, hydration, and desquamation.

One of the main discoveries was that spermidine, which was created during the metabolic process, directly impacts skin anti-aging as well as showing efficacy in improving skin health by activating collagenisis and lipid secretion.

“Spermidine in the Streptococcus (St) solution positively affected the growths of S. pneumoniae and S. infantis and this observation suggested that improved skin conditions could positively feedback to themselves through increments of the beneficial skin microbes,”​ the research team wrote.

“In short, our stepwise analysis and findings show that a colonised skin microbiome could improve skin conditions by producing beneficial secretions and suggest that the potential skin microbiome as therapeutic and clinical applications.”

Streptococcal ​secretions

In attempting to explain their observations, the team believed the increased mRNA expressions of various genes related to skin well-being could explain the mechanism underlying these skin improvements.

Additionally, the recovery of the damaged skin layer and increased lipid synthesis of skin cells supported the effects of Streptococcal ​secretions to improve skin structure and the skin barrier function.

The team were also confirmed that Streptococcus​ candidates that showed skin efficacy also shared similar genomic characteristics as well as common biosynthetic pathways, such as those for spermidine and glycogen.

"The publishing of skin microbiome technology in a global scientific journal creates an opportunity for the R&D status of K-beauty to be promulgated,"​ said COSMAX CEO Lee Byung-man.

"It will take centre stage in the global health and beauty market by using innovative materials to develop products that don't yet exist in the world."

Source: Nature Communications Biology

Published online:

“Spermidine-induced recovery of human dermal structure and barrier function by skin microbiome.”

Authors:  Kim, G et al.

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