Indian American finds mastermind behind formation of our skin

March 25th, 2009 - 4:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 25 (IANS) An Indian American researcher has discovered the genetic mastermind that controls skin formation. The finding could help address skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis and wrinkles.
Skin is actually the largest organ in the human body, and has important functions in protecting people from infection, toxins, microbes and solar radiation.

But it’s not static. Skin cells are constantly dying and being replaced by new cells, to the extent that human skin actually renews its surface layers every three to four weeks. Wrinkles, in fact, are a reflection of slower skin regeneration that occurs naturally with ageing.

Reduction in the activity of the gene expression called CTIP2 may play a role in some skin disorders, scientists believe, and understanding its mechanisms could throw up a solution.

“We found that CTIP2 helps control different levels of skin development, including the final phase of a protective barrier formation,” said Arup K. Indra, assistant professor of pharmacy at Oregon State University (OSU).

“It also seems particularly important in lipid biosynthesis, which is relevant not only to certain skin diseases but also wrinkling and premature skin ageing,” said Indra, who did his Masters from Calcutta University in 1992 and his PhD from Jadavpur University in Kolkata in 2001.

“When you think about therapies for skin disease or to address the effects of skin ageing, basically you’re trying to find ways to modulate the genetic network within cells and make sure they are doing their job,” Indra said.

“We now believe that CTIP2 might be the regulator that can do that. The next step will be to find ways to affect its expression.”

One of the ways that some ancient botanical extracts or other compounds may accomplish

their job in helping to rejuvenate skin, Indra said, is by stimulating gene expression.

A more complete understanding of skin genetics might allow that process to be done more scientifically, effectively and permanently, said an OSU release.

These findings were published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

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