Plant stem cells in cosmetics

Stem cells are the main building material, providing growth and renewal of tissues and separate organs. There are two main varieties of stem cells – embryonic cells, situated in the body of the fetus, and adult stem cells, situated in an adult organism. Embryonic stem cells possess an unlimited potential, any cell or even an organ can be brought up from them.  Adult cells have more modest abilities, but they are also able to much. For example, skin stem cells are able to turn, practically, to any cell, pertaining to skin – cells of epidermis, pigment cells, cells of vessels walls, and the cells, producing collagen and so on.

In case the energy of renovation, enclosed in stem cells, will be ever tamed, the mankind will be free of many diseases, and perhaps also from aging. But so far the medicine only shops around to stem cells, trying different versions of their use.

There are some potential ways of development of stem cells. The first, the most contentious – using embryonic cells. Whereas embryonic stem cells can be accessed only from living human embryos, this way many seem unethical.

Even if anyone needs an embryo the only idea that it is possible to disassemble it into cells looks blasphemous. 

The second way – isolation and activation of adult stem cells. Many laboratories are working now in this direction, trying to use stem cells, taken from skin, milk teeth and adipose tissues. Unfortunately there are no any special achievements till now.

And finally, the third way – activation of adult stem cells directly in the body itself with the help of various regulators.

Though the method of activation of adult stem cells is intended for medical purposes, now just this method actively uses cosmetology. 

Last investigations in this field have demonstrated that in many tissues, including the skin, the stem cells do not grow old together with the body, but they fall into a kind of anabiosis, that is the speed of cell division slows down and they respond to stimulation not so effectively. Such decline in activity of stem cells leads to slowing down the skin renewal and accumulation of defects – the skin grows old.  But if the same cells to transplant in tissue culture and provide them with suitable conditions then their vital functions can be raised to the level of young stem cells. In case something like that could be done with human skin then it would be possible to rejuvenate the skin, triggering in it renovation and remodeling processes, peculiar to the young skin. 

One of the areas, in which the scientists are working at present, is using plant stem cells in cosmetology. It is proved that plant stem cells produce a complex of molecular regulators, possessing universal properties, i.e. they are able to influence upon cells of other plants and animals and even upon human cells. These regulators are able to make changes in the functions of human skin stem cells, partially returning them the energy of youth.

Recently the scientists conducted experiments, supporting the possibility to use plant stem cells for activation stem cells of old skin.  For this purpose with the help of special screening equipment the stem cells from human skin were isolated and then they were transplanted in the cell culture.  Then the culture of human skin stem cells was treated with various soluble factors, isolated from stem cells of apple and grape. And, finally, treated and non-treated human stem cells were transplanted into special matrix, allowing this cells to form a semblance of skin.
Unlike adult human stem cells the stem cells of adult plants have unlimited possibilities, i.e. like embryonic cells, they are able to give rise to any cells of adult plant or even to the whole plant. For this reason their molecular regulators must be more similar to human embryonic stem cells. Besides, many cells of adult plants as a response to a damage are able to move “back in the past”, i.e. to lose their specialization and become something like stem cells.

Experiments have shown that extracts of plant stem cells are able to stimulate division of stem cells in human skin. They also restore the ability of human aged stem cells to form multilayer epidermis. In addition, grape stem cells improve the resistance of skin stem cells to damaging effect of UV-radiation, most likely, due to the presence of powerful antioxidants.

At present extracts of stem cells from apple, grape, edelweiss and other plants are already used in cosmetology. The scientists believe, that cosmetic products with extracts of plant stem cells can improve the efficiency of regeneration and speed up renewal of aging skin. This not only allows to achieve anti-aging effect, but significantly increases efficacy of such procedures as peelings, dermabrasion and laser resurfacing, which are based on stimulation of skin renewal.

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