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J Drugs Dermatol. 2007 Jun;6(6 Suppl):s25-33.

Modulation of gene expression as a new skin anti-aging strategy.

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LVMH Recherche - Parfums Christian Dior, St. Jean de Braye, France.



[corrected] The signs of aging may originate from natural processes or from exposure to the sun, wind, or other environmental factors. To evaluate the anti-aging effects of potential agents researchers must first identify and be able to quantify epidermal markers that change with aging. This paper summarizes the results of studies conducted to evaluate the transcriptional effects of an Aframomum angustifolium seed extract and Malva Sylvestris extract, and the antiaging efficacy of a skin care product containing the Aframomum angustifolium seed extract.


The transcriptional effect of an Aframomum angustifolium seed extract on normal human keratinocytes (NHKs) and normal human fibroblasts (NHF) was evaluated in vitro with the use of a low-density DNA array technology. The Malva Sylvestris extract was studied with a commercial DNA macroarray and by a real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. The in vitro anti-aging activities of the Malva sylvestris extract were compared with those of all-trans retinoic acid (RA), a well-established topical therapy for photodamage and wrinkles. The genes studied were known to be modified by RA. The anti-aging efficacy of a facial skin care product containing Aframomum angustifolium seed extract was evaluated in a single-center study using image processing analysis and in a 2-center study by evaluation of the photographs by the investigator, independent evaluators, and subjects.


In general, the Aframomum angustifolium seed extract strongly modified the gene expression profiles of NHKs and weakly modified the gene expression profiles of NHFs. After incubation with Aframomum angustifolium seed extract, the expressions of 3 antioxidant genes (metallothionein 1, metallothionein 2, and thioredoxin) were increased in NHKs, while expressions of 1 antioxidant gene (glutathione peroxidase) was increased in NHFs. Concerning the Malva sylvestris extract, a cDNA macro-array technology experiment with the reconstructed human epidermis model showed that some genes modulated by treatment with the Malva sylvestris extract are also regulated by RA treatment indicating a similar activity at the mRNA level. In the single-center study, a facial skin care product containing the Aframomum angustifolium seed extract significantly improved the homogeneity of the skin. The areas of the detected objects (skin imperfections) decreased significantly on each studied area of the face and the variance decreased significantly over the entire face. In the 2-center study, 28% percent of the subjects reported a greater than 50% overall global improvement in their skin by the end of the study compared to 11% of the subjects after 4 weeks of treatment. Seventy-six percent of subjects said they would purchase the cream.


The authors developed a low-density DNA chip method that permitted the study of the transcriptional effect of Malva Sylvestris extract and of Aframomum angustrifolium seed extract. The gene expression profiles obtained demonstrate the anti-aging properties of these compounds. An in vivo single-center study, performed and analyzed with an assay based on image processing analysis, demonstrated the antiwrinkle activity of a formulation containing the Aframomum angustifolium seed extract. The data obtained in the 2-center study suggests that the cosmeceutical containing Aframomum angustifolium seed extract produces a global rejuvenation effect in terms of redness, pigmentation, and fine lines similar to that noted utilizing an intense pulse light source.

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