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Miracle molecule

By Liz Hancock

Miracle molecule

For the launch of the new Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector, Lancome collaborated with Professor Richard Gallo, professor of medicine, pediatrics and dermatology, and chief of the division of dermatology at the University of California, SanDiego.

Professor Gallo and his research team, among other things, focus on the skin’s production of hyaluronic acid, which is essential for healthy, supple skin.

For the collaboration, Professor Gallo studied a special molecule created by Lancome’s Research Laboratories, jasmonate compound LR2412, a combination of two molecules shown to encourage the synthesis of elements such as collagens and fibrillin, and increase the production of hyaluronic acid.

Here Professor Gallo explains the importance of this molecule, and its significance in the production of hyaluronan for skin health…

As a skin biology researcher, why are you interested in hyaluronan?

Hyaluronan is a fascinating molecule, we have been studying it for over twenty years.

I am particularly interested in hyaluronan and hyaluronic acid derivatives knowing that hyaluronan is a major component of the skin matrix. It has many functions that are essential for normal skin health.

Baby skin contains high quantities of hyaluronan that give skin a beautiful, plump and bouncy texture. To a large extent, it is responsible for the fullness, the texture and therefore the appearance of skin. Levels of hyaluronan in skin tend to decrease over time, leading to changes in skin texture.

How is hyaluronan produced?

Hyaluronan is very interesting to study as it is both produced and transformed in the skin. It is produced by skin cells, both in the epidermis and the dermis, and is transformed into smaller fragments in the material surrounding the cells, the matrix.

The synthesis/breakdown of hyaluronan in skin is a continual process. It relies on a cascade of reactions driven by specific enzymes: hyaluronan synthase and hyaluronidase.

What role does hyaluronan play in skin?

The biological activity of hyaluronan fragments depends on their size. Large hyaluronan fragments, also called large-molecular-weight hyaluronan, play a key role in the quality of the matrix and therefore skin structure but also maintain skin moisture levels. Smaller fragments, or low-molecular-weight hyaluronan, can play different roles. They can influence skin biological reactions and cell-to-cell dialogue, regulate inflammation or control skin self-defense capacities and immunity.

How did you become interested in LR2412?

I have been working with Lancome’s research laboratories for many years and we have some research themes in common, such as a better understanding of skin biology mechanisms and how to modulate them. We were already interested in fundamental biological processes in skin and specifically in glycosaminoglycans like hyaluronan when we were asked to investigate LR2412.

Had you already worked on LR2412 previously?

We have done other experiments looking into molecules that regulate hyaluronan. However, this is actually the first time I have worked on LR2412, a molecule belonging to the jasmonate family, which was created by Lancome’s Research Laboratories.

LR2412 has turned out to be a very interesting molecule as we have found it to be a very powerful inducer of the specific enzymes that prompt skin cells to produce higher quantities of hyaluronan.

What does the work you have done teach us about LR2412?

With age, the quality of the skin matrix changes while levels of hyaluronan, a major component of the epidermal and dermal matrix, decrease.

My research confirms that LR2412 acts at different key stages in the cascade of enzymatic reactions leading to the production and transformation
of hyaluronan.

My data shows that LR2412 is a very potent and dynamic molecule that boosts synthesis of hyaluronan. I am not aware of another molecule that can induce the production of hyaluronan as intensely and quickly as LR2412.

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