Fat could be target for anti-aging treatment

December 31, 2012

Plastic surgeons have identified molecular changes in molecules that regulate gene activity that may serve as critical makers to tissue aging, allowing for less invasive avenues to improve the skin’s appearance, according to a new study.

Investigators with Penn Medicine, Philadelphia, examined changes in histone genes by removing fat from the abdomens of healthy patients undergoing cosmetic surgery, according to an American Society of Plastic Surgeons news release. Researchers then extracted fat cells and stem cells to examine genes regulating aging.

Specific changes occur to histones and other molecules that regulate gene activity, investigators noted. If these changes are reversed, researchers said, it could lead to the development of novel, less invasive therapies for the prevention and treatment of aging.

“Histones and the way our genes are organized in our cells are important to aging - they affect how cells age,” lead author Ivona Percec, M.D., said in the news release. “In future studies, we will investigate regulatory molecules that reverse changes in the human genome structure in an attempt to prevent or reverse aging in these cells."

The study was presented at the American Society for Plastic Surgery annual conference in New Orleans. DT