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Scientists have identified a protein that could play a key role in fighting skin ageing. They successfully tested treatments that “significantly promoted wound repair,” claimed the study.

The fountain of youth could be a protein. “COL17A1”  could play a key role in fighting skin ageing, according to a mechanism described in a study published last Wednesday. This protein encourages cell competition, a process that enables the strongest cells to “drive out” weaker cells. Age and UV rays lead to a depletion in the body’s levels of this protein, which leaves the way clear for weaker cells to reproduce: the skin thus becomes weaker, more fragile and slower to heal.

 

Treatments that promote wound repair

 

The study, published by science journal Nature, was carried out on mouse tails, which have many characteristics in common with human skin. After having identified the importance of the COL17A1 protein, scientists looked for a way of stimulating it to prevent it from being depleted, and thus slow down skin ageing and damage.

They isolated two chemical components, which they successfully tested on cells. The study reported that, “Application of these drugs […] significantly promoted wound repair.”

 

“Facilitating skin regeneration”

 

The researchers believe that, over the long term, these two components could enable them to find a way of “facilitating skin regeneration and reducing skin ageing.”

“Future studies are needed to determine the mechanisms of cell competition in other tissues, and to identify compounds capable of reversing ageing in other organs,” the scientists explained.

 

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