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J Invest Dermatol. 1994 Apr;102(4):476-80.

Effect of age on antioxidants and molecular markers of oxidative damage in murine epidermis and dermis.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


This is the first study of antioxidants and oxidative-damage-related parameters in epidermis and dermis of the skin as a function of age. The four major antioxidant enzymes (catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione reductase, and glutathione peroxidase), hydrophilic and lipophilic antioxidants, and lipid hydroperoxides were assayed in both epidermis and dermis of young and old hairless mice. Catalase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione reductase had similar activity levels in young and old animals. Only glutathione peroxidase from epidermis showed an activity decrease due to age. This decrease became apparent when enzyme activity was expressed per mg of total cellular protein. Hydrophilic and lipophilic antioxidants did not change as a function of age, nor did lipid hydroperoxide levels. Both the absolute level of oxidized glutathione and the ratio of oxidized to reduced glutathione were higher in dermis from old mice. These results suggest that skin aging is not accelerated in old age due to a general decrease in the antioxidant capacity of the tissue. The data are compatible, however, with the idea that continuous damage to skin tissue by free radicals occurs throughout an organism's lifetime because scavenging cannot be 100% efficient.

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