Can a protein eliminate wrinkles?

New York: Controlling concentrations of a protein known as RHAMM could potentially eliminate wrinkles and rejuvenate the skin without surgery or neurotoxin injections.

Research at Berkeley Lab suggests that a protein linked to the spread of several major human cancers may also hold great potential for the elimination of wrinkles and the rejuvenation of the skin.

If this promise bears fruit, controlling concentration of RHAMM (receptor for hyaluronan mediated motility) a protein, could one day replace surgical procedures or injections with neurotoxins that carry such unpleasant side-effects as muscle paralysis and loss of facial expressions.

As we age, fat cells in the subcutaneous layer of the skin become smaller and fewer in number so that they are not longer able to “fill in” damage to the epidermal and dermal skin layers. The results are wrinkles and sagging.

Mina Bissell, cell biologist with Berkeley Lab and authority on breast cancer, collaborated with Eva Turley, oncology professor, University of Western Ontario on a study of the role that RHAMM plays in regulating the signalling of adipocytes (fat cells) during the repairing of tissue wounds from injuries such as skin cuts, heart attacks and stroke.

Earlier research by Turley, who discovered RHAMM, had shown that over-expression of this protein points to a poor patient outcome for such human cancers as breast, colon, rectal and stomach.

Bissell and Turley, working with mice, discovered that blocking the expression of the RHAMM protein – either by deleting its gene, or through the introduction of a blocking reagent – can be used to selectively induce the generation of fat cells to replace those lost in the aging process, said a Berkeley release.

“This technique could be developed as a means of providing a non-surgical approach for normalising skin appearance after reconstructive surgery, for wrinkle reduction, and for face lifts and figure enhancement,” said Bissell.

Passive smoking likely to cause impaired thinking, depression: Don’t take passive smoking lightly or you could end up with impared thinking, sleeplessness, depression and clouded consciousness, according to the latest research.

This is the first large-scale study to conclude that exposure to passive smoking could also lead to dementia and other neurological problems in adults. The research was led by David Llewellyn of University of Cambridge and his associates, which used saliva samples from nearly 5,000 non-smoking adults aged over 50 years.

By measuring levels of cotinine (a by-product of nicotine) in their saliva and taking a detailed smoking history, the researchers were able to assess levels of exposure to passive smoke.