Autophagy is the body's way of cleaning out damaged cells in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells.
In April this year, scientists from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) discovered a unique molecular mechanism through which a type of autophagy, known as alternative autophagy, is stimulated.
Unlike normal autophagy, this mechanism functions even when cells are cannot handle the typical damage and stress to continue promoting the restructuring of intracellular tissues.
The Japanese maker of SHISIEDO, Anessa and Clé de Peau Beauté believes that alternative autophagy has potential as a new approach to support the activities of skin cells.
As such, the company has recently collaborated with the team from TMDU to explore the cosmetic applications of alternative autophagy.
Shiseido claimed that its partnership marks the first time ever alternative autophagy has been applied to the field of skin care.
Shiseido is scheduled to showcase its research at the Cell Symposia: Multifaceted Mitochondria held in Spain this November.
Focus on mitochondria
For this study, the research focused the alternative autophagy effects and its ability to regenerate mitochondria.
Mitochondria are responsible for the energy production of cells and the source of cell activity.
When mitochondria are damaged due to factors such as ageing or ultraviolet (UV) rays, the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is reduced while reactive oxygen species (ROS) is generated.
ROS is known to cause oxidative damage and contributes to the skin ageing process and is linked to skin concerns such as skin inflammation.
Autophagy affects intracellular organelles such as mitochondria themselves by playing an important role in intracellular purification and stress response that contribute to metabolism and promotes the restructuring of intracellular tissues.
According to the researchers, autophagy facilitates the reconstruction mitochondria and help them to regain function.
Unlike normal autophagy, alternative autophagy is a ‘special response mechanism’ that occurs when cells are excessively damaged by factors such as UV ray exposure.
Through this mechanism, the researchers suggest that it is possible to promote healthy skin cells from within.
The study also researched into ingredients that had potential to promoting the activation of alternative autophagy and discovered that camellia seed extract could this trigger this mechanism.
The Japanese Camellia, or tsubaki, is highly prized in Japan. Its oil has been used has been used historically in Japan for centuries for both skin and hair care.
“This means that the camellia seed extract may make the cells of the skin healthy from the inside and restore their original power, leading to beautiful skin that’s full of life. In the future, we will utilise the results of this research to develop skin care products that will make skin shine from the inside out this new approach,” said Shiseido.
Source: Nature Communications
“Identification of a phosphorylation site on Ulk1 required for genotoxic stress-induced alternative autophagy”
Authors: Torii, S., et al. (2020)