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Skin Atrophy May Be Reversed with Hyaluronate

Topical application shows promise as therapeutic option

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Skin atrophy -- an age- or corticosteroid treatment-related condition associated with ulceration and slow wound healing -- may respond to topical treatment with hyaluronate, according to a report published in the December issue of PLoS Medicine.

Gurkan Kaya, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Geneva in Switzerland, and colleagues conducted a study using both mouse and human subjects to test whether hyaluronate fragments (HAF) could penetrate the epidermis and cause thickening of the skin.

In vitro, treatment with intermediate-size HAF (HAFi; 50,000-400,000 Da) induced wild-type keratinocyte proliferation, but did not induce the same result for CD44-deficient (CD44-/-) cells. In mice, topical application of the same size HAF induced epidermal hyperplasia in wild-type animals but not in CD44-/- mice. The treatment also induced keratinocyte proliferation in humans with both age-related and corticosteroid-related skin atrophy.

"Our observations have defined 50,000-400,000 Da HAF as reagents capable of inducing a proliferative response in mouse and human skin. Clinically, topical HAFi application resulted in epidermal hyperplasia with restoration to normal thickness of atrophic human skin as early as one month after initiation of treatment. This effect was accompanied by significant clinical improvement, suggesting that HAFi may provide the basis for the development of novel therapeutic strategies for skin diseases characterized by atrophy," the authors conclude.

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