Estradiol Boosts Collagen Production in Aged Skin

But two-week study shows no effect on collagen production in sun-damaged skin

MONDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- In older patients, topical estradiol application appears to stimulate collagen production in sun-protected skin but not in sun-damaged skin, researchers report in the September issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Laure Rittie, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues recruited 70 healthy volunteers (mean age 75), including 40 women and 30 men. For two weeks, they treated the subjects with three applications of estradiol every other day on sun-protected skin near the hip and sun-damaged skin on the forearm and face.

In sun-protected skin, the researchers found that estradiol was associated with increased procollagen I and III messenger RNA and collagen I protein levels, primarily in women and to a lesser extent in men. In sun-damaged skin, they found that estradiol was associated with an expression of estrogen receptors similar to that in sun-protected skin. In a surprise finding, however, the researchers reported that estradiol was not associated with any significant changes in collagen production in photoaged skin in either women or men.

"Because photoaging is superimposed on natural aging in sun-exposed areas of the skin, our results suggest that alterations induced by long-term sun exposure hinder the ability of topical estradiol to stimulate collagen production in aged human skin in vivo," the authors conclude.

The study was supported in part by a grant from Pfizer, Inc.

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