Gelatinase, a Possible Etiologic Factor of Photoaging, is Present in Healthy Human Facial Skin and is Inhibited by Turmeric Extract

  • Published : 2003.09.01


Influence of gelatinase on basement membrane (BM) structure was investigated by using a skin equivalent (SE) model. The results showed that (1) gelatinase produced by cells degraded the BM and (2) the addition of matrix metalloproteinase-specific inhibitor to the SE medium accelerated the formation of BM structure, indicating that gelatinase is involved in BM impairment. The activity of gelatinase was also studied in healthy human facial skin tissues. The result of in situ zymography revealed gelatinase activity around the basal layer of the epidermis, where BM integrity was severely compromised. Therefore, this enzyme was suggested to be associated with BM decomposition in human facial skin. To assess the behavior of gelatinase in stratum corneum (SC) non-invasively, an immunological study was performed. Since positive immunostaining of pro-gelatinase B was observed in SC stripped from sun-exposed skin, whereas no positive staining detected in SC of non-irradiated skin, gelatinase in the epidermis could be non-invasively detected by measuring gelatinase in SC. Gelatinase in SC of healthy female volunteers was monitored using a special film that sensitively and conveniently detects gelatinase. Ninetr percent of SC from facial skin (l00 women, 40's-50's) was gelatinase-positive. On the other hand, SC from non-irradiated skin was negative. These results strongly suggest that (1) gelatinase is constantly produced in the facial epidermis of most middle-aged woman during their daily life, and (2) the enzyme might be involved in the aging-related degeneration of both BM and the matrix fibers of the upper layer of the dermis, acting as a very important aging factor. Strong inhibitory activity against gelatinase was found in turmeric extract and identified curcumin as the major ingredient. Topical application of cream containing turmeric extract significantly decreased the number of gelatinase-positive SC clusters in human facial skins. These results indicated that turmeric is an effective ingredient to prevent skin from photo aging by suppressing chlonically upregulated gelatinase activity by UV and to improve skin condition.