For people who want a flawless skin, having scars is unsightly. Though, there are now medications that can lessen the visibility of skin blemishes, deep scars are almost irreversible. This can be awful for vain people, and for those who need a good skin for a living.
Fortunately, researchers found a way to heal wounds without resulting in scars. Experts at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania together with the Plikus Laboratory for Developmental and Regenerative Biology at the University of California, Irvine, are working on a type of cells that could make the skin look smooth and younger.
Human skin typically has adipocytes, a type of fat cells. However, the skin loses its adipocytes when wounds turn to scars. The only type of cells that make the wounds heal are myofibroblasts, which results in blemishes. The scarred part of the skin also loses hair follicles, which adds to the skin's unusual appearance.
Experts used these factors for their study.
“Essentially, we can manipulate wound healing so that it leads to skin regeneration rather than scarring,” George Cotsarelis, MD, the chair of the Department of Dermatology and the Milton Bixler Hartzell Professor of Dermatology at Penn, and the principal investigator of the project, told the Pen Medicine News
. “The secret is to regenerate hair follicles first. After that, the fat will regenerate in response to the signals from those follicles.”
Apparently, hair follicles and fat cells grow dependently. When researchers planted hair follicles around the myofibroblasts, it initiated the regeneration of fat cells.
Myofibroblasts turned into adipocytes, which resulted in a healed wound without a scar; a more natural-looking, healthy skin.
"Our work shows we have the ability to influence these cells, and that they can be efficiently and stably converted into adipocytes,” said Cotsarelis.
Lead author Maksim Plikus, PhD, an assistant professor of Developmental and Cell Biology at the University of California, Irvine, told the Pen Medicine News
, “The findings show we have a window of opportunity after wounding to influence the tissue to regenerate rather than scar,”
Experts added that these findings can also be valuable to dermatology industry. They said, using fat cells, formation of deep wrinkles can be reversed.
“Our findings can potentially move us toward a new strategy to regenerate adipocytes in wrinkled skin, which could lead us to brand new anti-aging treatments,” Cotsarelis said.
It appears, fat cells aren't all bad. Using them in the right ways can make humans beautiful. How about that!