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Ingredients & formulation

Anti-Aging: Protection strategies for mitochondria

Mitochondria play a key role at the heart of our body cells and are essential to its proper functioning. Disturbances affecting them will play a role in the aging process and have thus become a prime target for cosmetic manufacturers who have developed several strategies in order to protect them.

This article was originally published in our last week’s special issue “Cosmetic Ingredients”. To read the entire issue and download it, click here.

Mitochondria at the heart of life

Mitochondria are small cell organelles found in most eukaryotic cells. They have the particularity of having their own DNA – mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) –, to be able to multiply or self-destruct regardless of the division of the cell itself and to be the main power plants of the cell. Their double membrane, the inner part of which is characterized by many folds promotes an intense transformation activity of substances provided by the supply in energy usable by the cells namely adenosine triphosphate (ATP). But it is also during this respiratory chain that the mitochondrion generates the ROS (reactive oxygen species), making it the prime target of oxidative attacks. [1]

Mitochondrial DNA has its own particular characteristics by being smaller than the DNA of the cell, less protected because lacking a nuclear membrane and with fewer repair systems available than cellular DNA. If the alterations of mDNA are too important, the mitochondrion will self-destruct thus leading to cellular death.

Overview of mitochondrial ROS production

Overview of mitochondrial ROS production

Organelles that require protection

Beyond energy production, the mitochondrion, or rather the mitochondria (all the mitochondrions) are essential to the proper functioning of body cells. They take a part in complex signalling pathways and are involved in a number of neurodegenerative diseases associated with aging. At the medical level, a decrease in mitochondrial functions such as those caused by caloric restriction could have a positive impact on aging according to Dr. Johan Auwerx from the Laboratory for Integrative and Systems Physiology at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale of Lausanne [2]. For his part, Andrew Dillin evidenced that disruptions in the mitochondrial function affected the entire body and its longevity [3].

There is a plethora of research work on this subject and the Congress, “Targeting Mitochondria”, whose 4th edition will take place on 17 and 18 October 2013 in Berlin will address in detail the subject of mitochondria and how they can be reached. “The mitochondrion is at the heart of aging, hundreds of diseases are related to its dysfunctions. In recent years, scientific advances were achieved on the early detection of mitochondrial alterations but also on the possibility of finding nanocarriers allowing to reach these difficult targets,” explained Marwin Edeas, Chairman of the French Society of Anti-oxidants and organizer of the Congress Targeting Mitochondria [4]. Some players like Mrs C. Peyreigne biologist, founder of Oxincell, a company specialized in the study and analysis of the mitochondrial function do not hesitate to say that “it is likely that mitochondriology will become in the coming years, one of the leading disciplines of the 21st century.

Preserving mitochondria is therefore crucial. Cosmetics manufacturers have realized that and have been offering innovations in this area for several years now. Skin being provided with these valuable substances. The molecules of interest which have been developed act according to different approaches.

Animal mitochondrion diagram

Animal mitochondrion diagram

Stimulating energy functions while limiting the production of ROS

A first path is to consider the mitochondrion like a power plant that needs to be maintained and stimulated. Greentech with Somitine®, a biotech active, acts on cellular respiration by increasing it at the basal and mitochondrial level without however impairing the energy balance. The cells produce more energy and the radiance and luminosity of the skin are improved. Mibelle with its NanoLipobelle DN CoQ10, a bioavailable concentrate of Q10 coenzyme titrated at 7% combats the decline in energy production and enables, thanks to its antioxidant properties, to act against the ROS. The nanoencapsulation delivery system improves the diffusion of the active to the mitochondria. Exsymol, with Methiopeptide® offers a biomimetic derivative of methionine with antioxidant properties, a protection of the respiratory function at the cellular level. Its ability to regenerate itself under the action of the MSR (methionine sulfoxide reductase) imparts it in addition with a long lasting effect. Codif Recherche et Nature with Hydrofiltrat statice G, stimulates the expression of mitochondrial sirtuin SIRT3, an enzyme the over expression of which increases respiration while reducing the production of ROS, an interesting balance to achieve in the fight against aging. Finally Sederma with Juvinity®, a geranylgeranylpropanol extract in a oil soluble carrier regulates cellular oxidative stress, enables to rebalance the mitochondrial activity (+ 63% in the membrane potential) and to stimulate the ATP synthesis (+ 76%). Its complementary action on ensuring the maintenance of telomere length and on the synthesis of the major components of the dermis makes it a global anti-aging active.

Protect mitochondrial DNA

Another strategy focuses on protecting the mDNA which is very sensitive to oxidative stress. Codif Recherche et Nature, with Phycojuvenine – a brown seaweed extract of Laminaria digitata – offers to protect mitochondria during UVA exposure. Tested at 1%, the active limits UVA induced cytochrome C leakage. Cytochrome C being a heme protein associated with the mitochondrial inner membrane and which is released from it when the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway is activated. Barnet, distributed by Inter’actifs repairs the damages caused to nuclear and mitochondrial DNA by oxidative stress, pollution and UV radiation. Their active, Roxisomes V is a liposomal enzyme of the 8-Oxoguanine glycosylase. Solabia with Viniderm derived from a grape juice extract from the French Languedoc-Roussillon region protects the essential components of the skin including the mitochondrial DNA. 0.06% of the active enables to increase by 63% the aconitase activity.

Mitochondria and anti-cellulite

Finally, a third approach focuses on molecules enabling an anti cellulite action by acting on mitochondria. A claim recently associated with mitochondria. Codif Recherche et Nature with Actiporine 8G, launched at In-Cosmetics 2013, targets mitochondrial aquaporin 8 in charge of the diffusional transport of H2O2 from the inside to the outside of the mitochondria. By ridding them of this toxic agent, the active maintains their physical and functional integrity and stimulates the original cell activity of adipocytes with namely lipolysis, and of fibroblasts with the collagen synthesis. Sederma with Phytosonic® restores the mitochondrial activity, helps burn the free fatty acids resulting from lipolysis activation and increases the cellular energy while stopping the cellulite induced-oxidative stress. Impag with Corolea Bio stimulates the TGR5 receptor of adipocytes leading to an increase in mitochondrial activity and to a fat burning effect. This active is the result of a partnership with the French company Phytodia.

Specific tests

These numerous molecules show why it is really worthwhile targeting mitochondria. To assess their activity, the ICDD company, founded in 2007 by Nathalie Compagnone, offers innovative technologies by working directly on the living cell: “Our strength lies in two differentiating factors as our assays are conducted in the living cell itself and not on isolated mitochondria, meaning that the latter is studied in its natural environment. In addition, it is a multi-parametric analysis within a same cell population during the same experiment,” she emphasised. Their patented technologies were first proposed to the pharmaceutical industry and have now been made available for the past 2 years to the cosmetics market. Several models are offered like the Mitoread Anti-âge, Mitoread mtDNA, Mitoread redox c / mt SOD, Mitoread BBS... enabling to measure the effects of actives on the mitochondrion.
Undoubtedly mitochondria have still many things to reveal.

On the occasion of the in-cosmetics trade show, which was held last week in Paris, Premium Beauty News has offered its readers a special issue dedicated to cosmetic ingredients.

Contents :

- Main cosmetic ingredients trends, according to Kline
- Anti-aging: Strategies to protect mitochondria
- 2013 regulatory issues
- Water: A vector of efficiency in cosmetics
- Exclusive Interview with Dr. Robert Fellous, Intertek
- An overview of recent developments in ingredients to be presented at in-cosmetics 2013.

Régine Frick


[1] “How mitochondria produce reactive oxygen species”, Michael P. Murphy , Biochem J 2009, January 1, 417(Pt1):1-13

[2] Conference at the SPIM 2012 “Protein homeostasis in the control of mitochondrial function and ageing”

[3] Conference at the SPIM 2012 “Humoral control of mitochondrial form and function to promote longevity”

[4] Targeting mitochondria 4th edition on 17 & 18 October 2013 at Berlin

© 2013 - Premium Beauty News -
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