Anti-wrinkle compound causes pathological reaction in skin cells

Quebec City, April 11, 2007 -- Researchers from Universit Lavals Faculty of Medicine have discovered that a compound commonly used in many antiwrinkle products causes a pathological reaction in skin cells. Guillaume Morissette, Lucie Germain, and Franois Marceau present their conclusions about the mode of action of this substancecalled DMAEin the latest edition of the British Journal of Dermatology.

DMAE (2-dimethylaminoethanol) is used in many antiwrinkle products dubbed "instant anti-aging face-lifts." This compound, as well as other chemically similar ones, are also found in cosmetics, creams, lipsticks, shampoos, soaps, and baby lotions, although the way they work is not yet understood.

In vitro tests conducted by Dr. Marceaus team revealed that the application of DMAE induces a quick and spectacular swelling of skin cell vacuoles called fibroblasts, which act as reservoirs and interface between the inside and the outside of the cell.

In the hours following the application of DMAE, the researchers observed an important slowing down of cell divisionsometimes coming to a complete stop, the inhibition of certain metabolic reactions, and the death of a significant percentage of fibroblasts. The mortality rate of fibroblasts, which varied according to DMAE concentration, was above 25% after 24 hours in the case of a concentration similar to the one resulting from normal use of an antiwrinkle cream. The thickening of the skin induced by the pathological swelling of the fibroblasts would explain the antiwrinkle effect of DMAE, according to the researchers.

"Even though DMAE is similar to medication, there is very little scientific documentation about its pharmacological and toxicological effects," explains Dr. Marceau, who stresses his goal is not to condemn the use of this compound. "Were not saying DMAE is dangerous to people exposed to it, but our results indicate its time to begin serious research to determine whether or n

Contact: Jean-Franois Hupp
Universit Laval

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