Section : Articles

Fighting Skin Aging by Targeting the Degradation of Collagen by Collagenase

  • Skin aging (ageing) concerns the skin, in the epidermis where it is responsible for texture changes. However the most visible effect of aging is loss of volume in the dermis.

    In the dermis intact collagen fibers (as well as hyaluronic acid) play an important structural role in its volume.

  • The visible changes in aging are mostly due to photo aging which is due to the effects of ultraviolet light (UV).
  • The review goes through the following chronological effects of UV action which result in the degradation of collagen:
  • Photoaging (photoageing) begins with the absorption of energy and the generation of reactive oxygen species

    The mammalian ultraviolet response and activation of tyrosine kinase receptors

    Ultraviolet exposure activates tyrosine kinase receptors by inhibiting protein tyrosine phosphatases

    Induction of matrix metalloproteinases couples the mammalian ultraviolet response to photoaging

    Accumulation of collagen fibril fragmentation creates a dermal microenvironment that perpetuates aging/photoaging

  • The article ends with proposed solutions on treating aging/photoaging:

    -(by stimulating the production of collagen): lasers, microdermabrasion, 5-FU, fillers, topical vitamin A and its derivatives (all-trans retinoic acid)

    -the future treatments also lie in the targeting of molecular pathways involved in the synthesis and degradation of collagen.


Dr Christophe Hsu – dermatologist. Geneva, Switzerland

Article selection: Prof Dr Jean-Hilaire Saurat – dermatologist. Geneva, Switzerland

Source of information: Ageing: collagenase-mediated collagen fragmentation as a rejuvenation target. Fisher GJ1, Sachs DL, Voorhees JJ. Br J Dermatol. 2014 Sep;171(3):446-9. doi: 10.1111/bjd.13267.