Kao develops non-invasive RNA monitoring method after discovering its presence in sebum

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Kao Corporation has claimed to have developed a new, non-invasive method of measuring human RNA after researchers discovered its presence in sebum. ©GettyImages
Kao Corporation has claimed to have developed a new, non-invasive method of measuring human RNA after researchers discovered its presence in sebum. ©GettyImages
The Bioscience Laboratory of Kao Corporation has claimed to have developed a new, non-invasive method of measuring human RNA after researchers discovered its presence in sebum.

Kao researchers found they were able to extract RNA by taking a sebum sample with oil blotting film. Previously, analysing RNA expression in the skin would require a highly invasive biopsy of the skin.

The research claimed that the new method was capable of analysing up to 10,000 molecules of human RNA

The company had recently presented this research at the 118th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Dermatological Association.

“Given the ease with which sebum can be extracted, this method makes it possible to screen RNA expression information on the skin in a simple but highly precise manner,” ​said Kao.

The research team studied the mechanism of sebaceous glands and found that sebum cells contained not just lipids, but RNA as well.

Kao claimed that this was the first time, RNA was found to be present in human sebum.

Further research into this led the researchers to develop the RNA monitoring method.

Link between RNA and dermatitis

Unlike DNA, which can determine the unique characteristics of the skin, RNA can be used to reveal day-to-day changes in skin conditions.

Kao explained: “The profiles and quantities of RNA… differ in response to changes determined by a person's physical condition and the external environment from moment to moment.”

By making it easier to analyse RNA, Kao researchers believe it will enable them to closely observe how various factors can influence skin condition.

“Given that the skin reflects many of the conditions inside the body, RNA expression analysis… could be an effective technique for gaining information on body conditions,”​ said the company.

Previous studies have suggested a link between RNA and dermatitis and Kao’s own research has found similar results.

Using the new method, Kao researchers studied RNA inside sebum of both healthy subject and subjects with atopic dermatitis.

The study found that patients with atopic dermatitis exhibited decreased expressions of RNA linked to maintaining the barrier functions of the skin. Additionally, the team recorded an elevated expression of RNA linked to inflammation.

“Looking toward the future, the RNA Monitoring method is likely to enable the detection of variations in skin condition too subtle to observe by visual examination alone,”​ the company concluded.

Future prospects of RNA monitoring

The RNA monitoring method would enable a more precise analysis of skin condition.

Kao said this is discovery warrants further studies on RNA and how it reflects the condition of the skin.

It believes that this could potentially allow cosmetic companies to offer personalised beauty products tailored to individual skin conditions and possibly extend into healthcare.

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