Stem cell treatments ‘go deep’ to regenerate sun-damaged skin

May 28, 2020 – For a while now, some plastic surgeons have been using stem cells to treat aging, sun-damaged skin. But while they’ve been getting good results, it’s been unclear exactly how these treatments – using adult stem cells harvested from the patient’s own body – work to rejuvenate “photoaged” facial skin.

A new microscopic-level study provides the answer: within a few weeks, stem cell treatment eliminates the sun-damaged elastin network and replacing them with normal, undamaged tissues and structures – even in the deeper layers of skin.

Injection of the patient’s own mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is “appropriate, competent and sufficient to elicit the full structural regeneration of the sun-aged skin,” according to the report by Dr. Luis Charles-de-Sá, MD, of Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Natale Gontijo-Amorim, MD and Gino Rigotti, MD of Verone-Italy University and colleagues. Their study appears in the June issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

The researchers assessed the cellular- and molecular-level effects of MSC treatment on sun-damaged (photoaged) facial skin. All 20 patients in the study, average age 56 years, were scheduled for facelift surgery. The patients lived in northeast Brazil, a region where intense sun exposure is expected.

For each patient, a small sample of fat cells from the abdomen was processed to create patient-specific MSCs. The cultured stem cells were injected under the skin of the face, in front of the ear. When the patients underwent facelift surgery three to four months later, skin samples from the stem…

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