Cielo qPCR Helps Identify Potential Anti-aging Properties

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Morning glory's role on anti-aging

Plant botanicals are commonly used in skincare products, from body creams, to sunscreen and face wash. Panichakul et. al from Suan Dusit University in Thailand evaluated the anti-aging potential of Ipomoea pes-caprae (IPC), commonly known as beach morning glory or bayhops. IPC is commonly used in Thai folk medicine as a treatment for jellyfish sting-induced dermatitis.

This is the first report to show that IPC extract impacts cell proliferation, wound healing and collagen production, as well as the expression of genes involved in aging. There have also been other studies that reported on its antioxidant wound-healing properties, and found it to have components which inhibit collagenase (enzymes that break down native collagen) with little cytotoxicity. Information is constantly being discovered about the biochemical processes involved in aging. Panichakul et. al has identified compounds that may delay or even reverse the aging process at the molecular level.

Figure 5 from Panichakul et. al (2022) IPC extract increase expression of genes important to aspects affecting the aging of skin. Fibroblasts were exposed to IPC extract, RNA was extracted, and real-time PCR for these genes was performed using the Azure Cielo. The real-time PCR data was analyzed using the Azure Cielo Manager software.

A potential mechanism for anti-aging properties

The researchers found exposure to IPC inhibited collagenase activity. When fibroblasts were exposed to the IPC extract, there was an increase in type 1 collagen production. Beyond its structural role, type 1 collagen can also affect signaling. The signaling impacts cell proliferation and migration, which are compromised in skin aging. They found induced cell proliferation in the presence of the IPC extract.

Azure Cielo qPCR system
Azure Cielo was designed around individual well scanning, comprising of two sets 16 fiber optics. Channel-specific excitation and emission light emitting diode (LED) light sources ensure that specific wells on the qPCR plate are illuminated, increasing sensitivity and reducing background noise.

Using a scratch assay, the researchers observed an increase in wound healing. This finding indicated that the IPC extract is capable of promoting cell migration as well.

The Cielo is a great choice for scientists who want reliable qPCR data. The findings from this study highlight a potential mechanism for the anti-aging properties of IPC. Panichakul et. al used the Azure Cielo and Cielo Manager Software to perform qPCR. The results found an increased expression of COL1A1, TGF-ꞵ1, and FGF2 in fibroblasts cells exposed to IPC extracts, the genes are essential for fibroblast proliferation, collagen production, and wound healing.

In-vivo Studies using IPC extracts

Dermal fibroblasts secrete large amounts of ECM components, such as collagen. ECM components play an important role in skin aging. The researchers performed in-vitro studies using extracts of IPC on a fibroblast cell line and investigated it by evaluating its antioxidant and collagenase inhibitory activity, and ECM degradation, cell proliferation and migration.

Collagen is a major structural component of the ECM and affects the structure of the skin dermis. Degradation of collagen may lead to the increased appearance of wrinkles. The researchers reviewed collagen synthesis, which is promoted by TGF-ꞵ1 and fibroblasts growth factor 2 (FGF2).

Can extracts from IPC be used to slow down the effects of skin aging?

Results from this study suggest IPC extracts are able to reduce free radicals, inhibit collagenase, and promote cell proliferation and migration. The findings indicate IPC extracts could be used in anti-aging skin products moving forward. What do you think- will we start seeing more products on the market with IPC extracts? Is IPC the new eucalyptus or aloe vera?

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What causes signs of aging?

Aging is a complex process that’s affected by intrinsic and extrinsic factors, like age, hormones, and UV exposure, that occurs in the epidermal and dermal layers of the skin. The primary cause is deterioration of the extracellular matrix (ECM) by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). The breakdown of the ECM causes the skin to lose its tensile strength, which promotes the appearance of aging in the form of wrinkles, and other blemishes. Some factors, such as age, cannot be altered; however, studies on aging have revealed various prevention methods, like adding sunscreen to block damaging UV rays.

Many consumers seek new and natural therapies to combat skin wrinkling and other signs of aging. Researchers have become increasingly interested in plant extracts comprised of phytochemicals. Phytochemicals, such as flavonoids, promote cell proliferation and collagen production and are important in the aging process.

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More blog posts to read about qPCR:

  1. Panichakul T, Ponnikorn S, Tupchiangmai W, Haritakun W, Srisanga K. Skin Anti-Aging Potential of Ipomoea pes-caprae Ethanolic Extracts on Promoting Cell Proliferation and Collagen Production in Human Fibroblasts (CCD-986sk Cells). Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2022 Aug 6;15(8):969. doi: 10.3390/ph15080969. PMID: 36015117; PMCID: PMC9416280.

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