Head Researcher In-Seop, Gil
Q. Why did you start your research?
A. Suppression of cell senescence is the desire of mankind beyond the cosmetics industry. Over time, or from external stimuli, a person's skin suffers from aging. During this process, wrinkles increase, and skin elasticity and barrier function are reduced. Therefore, the development of effective substances that inhibit aging is a particularly important task in skin science research. AMOREPACIFIC researches the anti-aging effect of the metabolites present in cells, and found that pyruvate, which is produced during the decomposition of glucose, shows strong anti-aging effect.
Q. Can you tell us about your research process?
A. This research was jointly conducted with researcher Kim Jung-yeon, under Professor Song Young-wook at the Rheumatology Department of Seoul National University Hospital. The research was based on the discovery that aged cells absorb more of the extracellular pyruvate. We compared various aging markers of cultured human skin to evaluate aging characteristics after incubated with culture medium containing pyruvate or without pyruvate. Furthermore, the possibility of antioxidant effect was further confirmed by verifying against aging skin.
Q. What is your research about?
A. When culturing human fibroblasts, pyruvate enters the cell and produces Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotideNAD +, which is well-known as a potent antioxidant. Through this, it has been found that pyruvate significantly inhibits skin cell senescence by promoting the degradation of abnormal mitochondria, reducing reactive oxygen species, and reducing the expression of the senescence-associated secretory phenotypeSASP. In particular, studies on artificial skin models have shown that the deficiency of pyruvate induces aging of dermal cells, thereby suppressing the growth and differentiation of the epidermal layer, resulting in a phenomenon similar to aging of human skin. Thus, it can be expected that pyruvate has a strong anti-aging effect.
Q. What is different from previous accomplishments?
A. Traditional methods of inhibiting aging used natural products or compounds that are present mostly in plants. However, in this study, pyruvate, a metabolite present in human blood, is characterized by its anti-aging efficacy, as well as its low toxicity and lack of side effects. When cultured in vitro, many cells are generally cultured using a culture medium containing 1 mM pyruvate, which is 20 to 30 times higher than the pyruvate concentration of actual human blood. The present study confirmed that when a culture medium containing pyruvate is used for anti-aging and antioxidant screening, the anti-aging and antioxidant effects of pyruvate themselves overpower the effect of new substances. For this reason, it is thought that the aging model using pyruvate at the actual concentration of human blood and screening the anti-aging substance based on this model will provide results similar to those seen in vivo. Through this process, the anti-aging efficacy of plum extract, which is the main ingredient of the ’Sulwhasoo Bloomstay Line’, was discovered.
Q. What are the expected results?
A. It is necessary to reexamine the function of pyruvate in human blood by discovering the anti-aging effect of pyruvate, which is considered to be a simple intracellular energy source. In particular, it is expected that pyruvate is involved in improving the function of mitophagy, which is responsible for the degradation of abnormal mitochondria. Mitophagy is a subcategory of autophagy, which degrades intracellular components or organelles.
Q. Why was this applied to the ‘Sulwhasoo Bloomstay Line‘?
A. Using a model of aging cells deficient in pyruvate, we screened substances exhibiting the actual anti-aging effect. As a result, we found that the plum extract was superior in anti-aging and antioxidant efficacy. It is included in Sulwhasoo's anti-aging line Bloomstay (Bloomstay Vitalizing Cream, Bloomstay Vitalizing Water, Bloomstay Vitalizing Essence) launched in 2018. In addition, pyruvate with strong antioxidant and antioxidant activity is currently under clinical development to include in future products.
Q. What are some future research plans?
A. There are various metabolites in cells, and there are many substances with unknown functions. It is undeniably important to study the antioxidant effects of natural products extracted from plants and to synthesize and develop new anti-aging substances. However, human metabolites can be more effective because of the perceived weaker toxicity and less adverse effects. Therefore, AMOREPACIFIC will continue to do its best to discover high-performance functional metabolite substances without side effects through continuous support and Research and Development.