Topical fern extract could have potential as anti-aging extract

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Extracellular matrix Matrix metalloproteinase Polypodium leucotomos

A tropical fern extract could help fight against both intrinsic- and photo-aging in the skin, according to researchers in the US.

The extract of Polypodium leucotomos​ has potential as an anti-aging ingredient both topically applied and orally ingested, according to researcher Neena Philips at Georgian Court University, New Jersey, USA.

Philips and her fellow researchers in New Jersey, in collaboration with Salvador Gonzalez from Industrial Cantabria Farmaceutica, Madrid, Spain, which funded the study, investigated the effect of the P. leucotomos​ extract on human dermal fibroblasts.

The researchers looked into the effect of the extract on both UV irradiated and non irradiated fibroblasts in vitro​, in particular focusing on the expression of enzymes and growth factors that are known to affect the extracellular matrix proteins such as collagen and elastin.

Primarily, the scientists looked at how the fern extract affects matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) – enzymes that break down collagen and that are upregulated by UV radiation.

In addition, the team investigated the effect of the extract on the tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMPs) and the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) which is, the scientists claim, a primary regulator of the extracellular matrix.

According to the study, P. leucotomos ​extract inhibited MMP-2 expression and simultaneously stimulated the TIMPs, which would in turn have further inhibited MMPs.

Stimulated collagen

In addition, the extract stimulated the expression of TGF-beta as well as stimulating the production of certain types of collagen.

In non-irradiated dermal fibroblasts the extract ‘dramatically stimulated’​ types I, III and V collagen, and in irradiated fibroblasts the production of types I and V were stimulated.

In this way, the scientists explain, the extract has a multiple effect. Not only does it stimulate the production of collagens important in the skin matrix, it also decreases their degradation by the MMPs.

“In summary, ​P. leucotomos demonstrated dual protective effects on the ECM for anti-skin aging via the inhibition of the ECM proteolytic enzymes and the stimulation of TIMPs, structural ECM collagens (types I, III, V) and TGF-beta in fibroblasts,”​ concluded the authors.

The P. leucotomos ​extract is included in two products from Industrial Cantabria Farmaceutica, Fernblock for photoprotection and Difur designed for psoriasis.

Source: Archives Dermatological Research
​doi 10.1007/s00403-009-0950-x
Beneficial regulation of matrixmetalloproteinases and their inhibitors, fibrillar collagens and transforming growth factor-beta by ​Polypodium leucotomos directly or in dermal fibroblasts, ultraviolet radiated fibroblasts and melanoma cells.
​Neena Philips, Jennifer Conte, Yu-Jun Chen, Prashanti Natrajan, May Taw, Thomas Keller, Joshua Givant, Marvin Tuason, Luiji Dulaj, Donna Leonardi, Salvador Gonzalez

Related topics Formulation & Science

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