A new study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology indicated that certain actions of mitochondrial complex II plays a significant role in a person's aging process. The study was conducted by Mark Birch-Machin, a professor of Molecular Dermatology at Newcastle University, with the help of Dr. Amy Bowman. Complex II plays a key function in the energy levels of cells, and when these energy levels decrease, the end result is wrinkles.
Birch-Machin talked about the process and what it means, saying that it could lead to a variety of treatments and possible cures.
"Our study shows, for the first time, in human skin that with increasing age there is a specific decrease in the activity of a key metabolic enzyme found in the batteries of the skin cells," said Birch-Machin. "This enzyme is the hinge between the two important ways of making energy in our cells and a decrease in its activity contributes to decreased bio-energy in ageing skin. Our research means that we now have a specific biomarker, or a target, for developing and screening anti-ageing treatments and cosmetic creams that may counter this decline in bio-energy."
To conduct the study, researchers examined the enzyme in six samples of 27 donors between 6 and 72 years old. Birch-Machin, Bowman and colleagues found that the enzyme's activities significantly decreased as a person aged. To reduce obstructions, the researchers only took samples of people's skin unharmed by the sun.
This study was one of a kind considering that there are five mitochondrial complexes and mitochondrial complex II is rarely studied. This work is only one step in what will be a long process to determine how exactly these findings can be used to create anti-aging medicine.