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Original Investigation |

Cosmeceutical Effect on Skin Surface Profiles and Epidermis in UV-B–Irradiated Mice

Tapan K. Bhattacharyya, PhD1; Mohini Pathria, BS1; Clyde Mathison, MD1; Maria Vargas, MPH1; J. Regan Thomas, MD1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, University of Illinois at Chicago
JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2014;16(4):253-260. doi:10.1001/jamafacial.2013.2582.
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Importance  These data may be useful for developing guidelines for clinicians and the general population related to the reversal of photoaging effects on the aging face damaged by solar radiation.

Objective  To investigate antiaging effects of 4 commercially available topical agents on the dorsal skin in photoaged hairless mice.

Design and Setting  Animal study at an academic medical center. Animals comprised 56 female Skh-1 hairless mice (6-8 weeks old). Skin samples were collected from nonirradiated intact mice (control), mice irradiated with UV-B for 8 weeks, mice irradiated with UV-B and then exposed to a topical cosmeceutical applied for 5 weeks, and UV-B-irradiated mice not exposed to cosmeceuticals and retained for 5 weeks until the end of the experiment.

Intervention  The mice were exposed to UV-B light 3 times a week for 2 months, followed by topical application of a peptide, antioxidant, estrogen, and retinoic acid agent for 5 weeks.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Surface features such as wrinkling were analyzed from replicas along with histomorphometric determination of epidermal thickness, sebocyte counts, and immunohistochemical study of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA).

Results  Exposure to UV-B induced significant wrinkle formation after 13 weeks, which was attenuated with treatments with a peptide cream, antioxidant mixture, and estrogen cream (mean [SD] Rz values: control [C], 60.7 [19.0]; irradiated [RAD], 51.8 [15.9] [P < .001]; irradiated-long [RAD-long], 86.0 [28.3] [P = .01]; antioxidant [AO], 45.2 [13.2]; peptide, 63.4 [18.8], estrogen, 64.6 [21.2]; retinoic acid [RA], 73.9 [28.5]; RAD-long vs C [P = .01], vs RAD [P < .001], vs estrogen [P = .04], vs peptide [P = .02], vs AO [P<.001], vs RA [P = .25]. There was a trend of reversal of irradiation-induced augmentation of epidermal thickness in animals treated with the peptide and AO (mean [SD] epidermal width: C, 21.0 [2.2] μm; RAD, 41.3 [7.0] μm [P < .001]; RAD-long, 39.1 [11.0] μm [P = .006]; AO, 37.3 [14] μm [P < .001]; peptide, 33.9 [3.8] μm [P = .01]; estrogen, 59.2 [9.2] μm [P = .003]; RA, 52.4 [8.7] μm [P < .001]). Retinoic acid augmented epidermal width and sebocyte counts (mean [SD] sebocyte data [number per gland]: C, 9.4 [2.0]; RAD, 11.69 [1.5] [P < .001]; RAD-long, 6.5 [1.3] [P = .73]; peptide, 7.2 [1.7] [P = .03]; estrogen, 4.1 [0.9] [P < .001]; AO, 7.2 [1.7] [P = .06]; RA, 11.0 [1.4] [P = .01]). Estrogen cream was effective in restoring surface features but enhanced thickness of epidermis in irradiated specimens. All groups had a higher PCNA index score except for peptide treatment, which brought it down to the control level (mean [SD] PCNA index values: C, 17.3 [1.5]; RAD, 32.4 [6.8] [P < .001]; RAD-long, 34.0 [6.1] [P < .001]; AO, 62.1 [3.5] [P = .01]; peptide, 20.1 [6.3] [P < .001]; estrogen, 56.8 [10.0] [P < .001]; RA, 35.2 [10.2] [P < .001]).

Conclusions and Relevance  Of the 4 cosmeceuticals tested within this experimental period, peptide cream and antioxidant mixture were the most effective overall in reversing photoaging effects; retinoic acid was the least effective of these topical agents.

Level of Evidence  NA.

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Figure 1.
Wrinkle Formation

Following UV-B irradiation, wrinkles appear on the dorsal skin (arrowheads) shown in 2 animals (tail area marking) compared with intact untreated mice to the left.

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Figure 2.
Replica Photographs

A, A control animal showing numerous bumps (arrowhead). B, UV-B irradiation elicits formation of coarse wrinkles and disappearance of bumps. C, Peptide treatment demonstrates eradication of wrinkles and normal distribution of bumps.

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Figure 3.
Graphical Representations of Study Results

A, Graphical representation of mean (SD) Rz values in different groups. For an explanation of Rz value, see the Replica Preparation subsection in the Methods section. B, A bar graph showing mean epidermal thickness in control, UV-irradiated, and irradiated animals exposed to topical treatments. Error bars indicate SD. C, Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) index in control, UV-irradiated, and irradiated animals exposed to topical treatments. Error bars indicate SD. PCNA index is the number of positive nuclei divided by the total number of keratinocyte nuclei multiplied by 100. AO indicates antioxidant; Est, estrogen; RAD, irradiated; RAD-long, irradiated long; Pep, peptide; and RA, retinoic acid.

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Figure 4.
Histological Changes

A, Skin section from an untreated, intact animal stained with trichrome procedure. B, Irradiated skin section stained with same procedure showing widening of epidermis, and proliferation of follicles. C, Irradiated animal topically treated with estrogen showing further expansion of the epidermis and exaggerated cellular layers. D, Irradiated skin topically treated with peptide cream showing almost normal appearance. E and F, Immunostained proliferating cell nuclear antigen–positive cells in a control animal restricted to the basal layer (arrowhead [E]), which proliferated following irradiation (arrowhead [F]). EPI indicates epidermis; and DER, dermis.

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