Skin rejuvenation is often associated with wrinkles and lines, but the truth runs deeper than wrinkles. Skin becomes more fragile and thus more prone to damage as it ages. Damage to the skin compromises its protective barrier function and can increase risk of infection. Research into ways to strengthen skin can not only make skin look younger, but can protect people from serious medical conditions. Thus far, most skin rejuvenation research has focused on collagen and other large skin proteins. New research, however, suggests that short peptide molecules, like epithalon, may hold more promise in preserving and even rejuvenating skin.
Epithalon (a.k.a. epitalon), is a short (just four amino acids long) peptide that has been demonstrated to have anti-aging and anti-cancer properties in rodent studies. Because epithalon is so short, it can penetrate the cell membrane, without the aid of transporters, and make its way to the nucleus of cells. This is important because, once in the nucleus, epithalon can affect the regulation of genes, activating some and deactivating others to cause cell-wide changes1.
Previous research has indicated that epithalon can stimulate immune system function that has been lost due to natural aging. Investigation of the mechanism of this action uncovered the ability of the Ala-Glu-Asp-Gly peptide chain (Epithalon) to interact with the promoter region of the interferon gamma gene. By promoting the production of interferon gamma, a key immune regulator, epithalon is able to boost functioning in T-cells and thus overall immunity and well being1,2.
The idea that short peptides might be able to affect DNA-level processes has caused a boom in the investigation and research of epithalon and other short peptides in animal models. Those investigations have led to the understanding that epithalon can impact skin aging by activating cellular repair processes, which often go dormant as we age.
Epithalon and Skin Aging
Research by Dr. Khavinson, out of Russia, has shown that epithalon can activate skin fibroblasts, the cells responsible for repairing and maintaining the extracellular matrix that makes our skin strong. Extracellular matrix in the skin is where collagen, elastin, and other critical skin proteins can be found. Research in rats shows that epithalon activates fibroblasts and causes their numbers to increase by 30-45%3.
One of the many ways that skin aging creams claim to work is by strengthening collagen. While these creams do work well in the laboratory, their ability to penetrate the skin to any depth and affect collagen is sometimes limited. This means that the creams work, but that their effects are very superficial. With epithalon, it is a different story. Epithalon actually penetrates the cells themselves and stimulates growth and development of fibroblasts that secrete proteins like collagen. This produces a much deeper effect, leading to skin regeneration at multiple levels.
Epithalon: More Than Just Beauty
Research has shown that preventing aging in skin is about more than just improving appearances. Aged skin is brittle, prone to tears, and often subjected to chronic insults that lead to pressure ulcers, diabetic ulcers, and more. The ability to boost skin rejuvenation won’t just benefit appearance; it will actually ward off damage, disease, infection, and more.
Epithalon is still under scientific research study and has not yet been approved for use by the FDA.
1. Lin’kova, N. S., Kuznik, B. I. & Khavinson, V. K. [Peptide Ala-Glu-Asp-Gly and interferon gamma: their role in immune response during aging]. Adv. Gerontol. Uspekhi Gerontol. Ross. Akad. Nauk Gerontol. Obshchestvo 25, 478–482 (2012).
2. Khavinson, V. K. et al. Short cell-penetrating peptides: a model of interactions with gene promoter sites. Bull. Exp. Biol. Med. 154, 403–410 (2013).
3. Chalisova, N. I. et al. [Short peptides stimulate skin cell regeneration during ageing]. Adv. Gerontol. Uspekhi Gerontol. Ross. Akad. Nauk Gerontol. Obshchestvo 27, 699–703 (2014).