Smooth skin is attributed to fat cells called adipocytes. Scars and blemishes appear on the skin when these adipocytes are lost due to wounds or as a result of ageing. Fat cell loss is also a complication in certain medical conditions like HIV infections. The loss of fat cells is the main reason deep wrinkles start to appear with an advance in age.
In the recent study published in the journal Science, researchers attempted to mitigate the formation of scars by regenerating myofibroblasts (scar-forming cells) into fat cells. Their experiments were not only successful, but they have could have much wider implications than anticipated.
“Our findings can potentially move us toward a new strategy to regenerate adipocytes in wrinkled skin, which could lead us to brand new anti-ageing treatments,” explained Professor George Cotsarelis of the University of Pennsylvania. “Essentially, we can manipulate wound healing so that it leads to skin regeneration rather than scarring. The secret is to regenerate hair follicles first. After that, the fat will regenerate in response to the signals from those follicles.”