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IFSCC Conference Wraps Up Actively and Naturally

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Ju Yeon Jang, LG Household, on MITF as the "master" of melanin

The final session of the IFSCC Conference, moderated by Wan Goo Cho, of Jeonju University, Republic of Korea, and Philippe Auderset, SWISS SCC, covered actives of natural and organic origin. The keynote was presented by ByungGee Kim, of Seoul National University, who presented on cosmeceuticals produced from soybeans via oxidoreductase processing.

Jackfruit: Skin Whitening Double Agent

Yizhen Wu, of the University of Hong Kong, shared joint research conducted with Skindata Ltd. on a phenolic compound derived from the natural wood extract of Artocarpus heterophylus (jackfruit). The resulting agent demonstrated skin lightening properties via two mechanisms of action: inhibition of melanin synthesis and induction of melanosome autophagy. 

Kim explained, "Jackfruit's skin lightening efficacy was first examined using mushroom tyrosinase inhibition as a means to identify the key actives." From this, five compounds showed skin lightening efficacy; among them was isoartocarpesin, which was interestingly similar in structure to rapamycin, a known actor implicated in the autophagy system. However, according to Kim, isoartocarpesin was more powerful for inhibiting melanin than by acting via autophagy alone; it appeared to be acting on melanin formation as well. 

During the Q&A session, one attendee asked which pathway is its main mechanism of action. Kim replied, "Both mechanisms are acted upon, and I think both are important." Whether or not this means a synergistic effect or not was not addressed, in the interest of time. 

Mitochondrial Moves Toward Cellular De-stress

David Boudier, of Silab, gave attendees a primer on mitochondria and presented research conducted with the Institut des Sciences de L’Evolution de Montepellier, France, exploring mitochondrial dynamics, prohibitins and mitophagy as three pathways to manage cellular stress.

"The mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells and their dysfunction has been associated with more than 200 medical conditions," said Boudier. However, their dysfunction in connection with skin cells has be less established. 

In relation, mitochondrial dynamics have been the focus of recent research; indeed, mitochondria move and change direction to adapt and interact as needed to ensure they maintain tasks important to cellular health. Fission and fusion within mitochondria have been studied as well in relation to aging, since UV stress and aging trigger the fission process, leading to an imbalance in mitochondrial dynamics.

From a pollution and cellular stress standpoint, prohibitins (PHB) are of recent interest. These proteins are released per the instruction of the PHB gene. While their precise function is not clear, they are suspected to act as a chaperone for respiration chain proteins, or as a general structuring scaffold required for optimal mitochondrial morphology and function. According to Boudier, PHB is released in response to pollution in the lungs; however, its potential response to stress in skin was not previously tested.

Fission and fusion within mitochondria have been studied in relation to aging; UV stress and aging trigger the fission process, leading to an imbalance in mitochondrial dynamics.

Lastly, mitophagy, i.e., the autophagy of damaged mitochondria, has been a focus of cellular response to stress. In fact, an increase in mitophagomes in stressed normal human epidermal keratinocytes has been identified. Taken together, Boudier explained these three areas are under investigation for the development of new actives.

TCM to Master Melanin

Finally, closing out the IFSCC conference, Ju Yeon Jang, of LG Household and Healthcare, explored levistilide A for its ability to inhibit melanogenesis via down-regulation of the phosphorylation of cyclic AMP response element binding (pCREB) protein and microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF).

As Jan illustrated, various mechanisms for melanin control and pigmentation eventually track back to MITF. Thus, MITF appears to be the "master" of melanin.

Jang showed that levistilide A from Ligusticum chuanxiong hort., or the traditional ‎Chinese medicinal plant Sichuan lovage rhizome, reduced melanin in a concentration-dependant manner in skin equivalent models.

Looking Ahead

Upcoming IFSCC Congresses will be held in Munich, in 2018, and Milan, in 2019. Mark your calendars! For more information, visit either event website:

IFSCC 2018 Munich

IFSCC 2019 Milan

or go to IFSCC.org.