IMAGE: Skin of a young mouse. The image shows a cross section of the skin with the fibroblasts indicated in green. The thickness of the dermis and the density of fibroblasts… view more
Credit: M Salzer, IRB Barcelona
With age, our tissues lose their function and capacity to regenerate after being damaged. A study published today in Cell by scientists at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and the Centro Nacional de Análisis Genómico of the Center for Genomic Regulation (CNAG-CRG) explains how dermal fibroblasts age.
The main conclusion drawn is that these fibroblasts lose their cell identity, as if they had “forgotten” what they are, and consequently their activity is altered, thus affecting tissue. The study reveals the cellular and molecular pathways affected by ageing and proposes that they could be manipulated to delay or even reverse the skin ageing process.
Dermal fibroblasts are key for the production of collagen and other proteins that make up the dermis and that preserve the skin’s function as a barrier. The activity of these cells is also crucial for the repair of skin damage. As we age, the dermis loses its capacity to produce collagen, and consequently