Protein folding: the next big theory to maintain skin health
Proteins are responsible for many biological processes in living organisms. In the skin they provide structure (such as keratin, collagen, elastin) and ensure functional processes (cellular respiration, repair, cell communication, waste elimination). The amino acid composition and sequence of each protein determines an intricate and highly specific 3D shape that defines what it does and how it works.
After decades of research, the recent progress of AI and deep-learning (ie: AlphaFold from DeepMind) have helped scientists around the world to unlock protein shapes and better understand the natural world. Protein folding has then emerged as a major challenge to understand biology including many degenerative diseases, but it is also a major topic of interest for skincare. As a matter of fact, Symrise believes that the new paradigm of skin health protection strategy is shifting towards protein protection.
In this scientific context, we have seen the new keyword “Proteome” rise to describe all protein-related topics for a tissue or an organism. Proteome is sensitive to exposome. When submitted to either intrinsic (chronological aging) or extrinsic (solar irradiation, pollution, …) stressors, the proteome will accumulate damage and eventually lead the skin to a loss of functionality and radiance. As a leading explorer of the exposome, Symrise engaged in new ways to bring visible skin benefits to consumers.
Testing efficacy of Supervisome™ EPH
Proteome protection is ensured by chaperone proteins which supervise proper folding of “client” proteins and bind to misfolded proteins to prevent irreversible aggregation. By enhancing chaperones, we can reinforce proteome integrity which will result in a healthy-looking skin (luminous, radiant, and bright).
Small Heat Shock proteins - including HSP27 and CRYAB - are molecular chaperones that are ubiquitously expressed and involved in various biological processes and tissues. This class of heat shock proteins is especially interesting as it is described as part of the early response to stress events.
Gene expression levels of molecular chaperones were determined using a qPCR setup. Of the small HSPs analyzed in the experiment, gene expression of HSPB3 - a member of the HSP27 family - was induced ca. 13-fold compared to control, whereas CRYAB was induced ca. 6-fold. In a subsequent experiment, we verified the above-mentioned results at the functional level. Viability of the cells was determined using a MTT assay. Supervisome™ EPH dose-dependently improved resilience of cells against heat shock treatment, implying that the induction of HSPs by Supervisome™ EPH exhibited a positive impact on cell survival. The experiment also showed that Supervisome™ EPH does not exhibit any detrimental effects by itself on the cells. To validate the findings of the in vitro studies, we used human skin explants. In a first approach, without application of any external stress, we could verify that the gene induction measured in vitro was mirrored by an increase of HSP27 protein abundance ex vivo. Indeed, Supervisome™ EPH applied topically in a classical emulsion achieved a +61% increase of HSP27 score.
Figure 1: Protein staining of histological cross sections from human skin explants (female donor, age 32); intensity of red color is correlated to the presence of HSP27 in the tissue.
To investigate the impact of Supervisome™ EPH on different types of stress, an experiment was carried out using human skin explants and applying diesel particles to emulate environmental stress as an integral part of exposome. Samples were taken for analysis of apoptotic state of the tissue by TUNEL assay and assessment of protein carbonylation as a marker for irreversible oxidative protein damage in cells. Protein oxidation was significantly reduced by 33%. This result demonstrates that Supervisome™ EPH exhibits protection against exposome stress caused by pollution. Results of the TUNEL assay indicated that Supervisome™ EPH counteracted the apoptotic effects induced by the pollution treatment. This is in good agreement with the induction of CRYAB on a molecular level, as this specific protein is described to be involved in the prevention of apoptotic effects.
Finally, an in vivo study conducted on split-face with Caucasian volunteers having dull skin was able to show a visible increase of facial luminosity (L*), radiance (L*/c, c being color saturation) and an overall brightening of skin tone (ITA°). Results ranged between +50-55% increase in ∆L*, ∆Radiance, ∆ITA° with significant results against placebo.
Figure 2: volunteer #23 from 29-day clinical study; image acquisition with Colorface®
Supervisome™ EPH is a 100% natural and readily biodegradable solution based on organic yarrow. It is globally approved and is standardized to ensure consistent efficacy. This easy-to-use water-soluble powder can achieve radiant complexion in just 1 month without imparting any color or odor to finished formulation. All of the above mentioned assets make Supervisome™ EPH the perfect solution for multiple applications such as everyday face & body care, sun care, after-sun, make up and any product focusing on pigmentation, radiance and protection of skin health and skin tone.
Click here for more information: SymSelect: Supervisome™ EPH
Contact: Amélie GAFARI, Global Product Manager
Symrise Cosmetic Ingredients Division