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        New, promising opportunities

        for treating skin fibrosis

              ollagen, the main component of
              the skin’s extracellular matrix,
        Ccan cause a pathological
        condition if it is in excess. Applying
        an electric field to the skin affects
        collagen pathways, temporarily
        reducing collagen production and
        increasing its degradation. This is
        what researchers from the CNRS,
        Université Toulouse III -- Paul
        Sabatier and Toulouse INP have just
        demonstrated, along with an Israeli
        researcher1. Published on 21 October
        2021 in the Journal of Investigative
        Dermatology, these results open new
        therapeutic perspectives for the topical
        treatment of skin fibrosis characterized
        by excessive collagen deposition.

        When an electric field is applied              Collagen fibres in artificial human skin used in this study, observed
        around a tumour, it “permeabilizes”            using scanning electron microscopy. © Sara Gouardères – IMRCP
        the cells locally and temporarily. This
        permeabilization ensures, for example,  in cosmetics for its role in the skin’s   from the laboratory Interactions
        the massive entry of anticancer      mechanical properties. Collagen,    moléculaires et réactivité chimique
        molecules into cells and tissues, which  like the whole extracellular matrix, is   et photochimique (CNRS/Université
        reduces the amount of doses injected   finely regulated, in particular by its   Toulouse III -- Paul Sabatier), the
        into patients and limits side effects:   degradation by specialized enzymes   Centre interuniversitaire de recherche
        this is the hospital-based approach of   which prevent it from being in excess.   et d’ingénierie des matériaux (CNRS/
        electrochemotherapy that has been    If this balance is disturbed, the matrix   Université Toulouse III -- Paul
        used to treat skin tumours since the   reaches a pathological or disease   Sabatier/Toulouse INP) and the
        1980s.                               state, as is the case with fibrotic or   Centre de microscopie électronique
                                             hypertrophic scars, characterized by   appliquée à la biologie (Université
        Interestingly, physicians using this   excessive collagen deposition.    Toulouse III -- Paul Sabatier). A
        method, and for that matter the                                          researcher from Tel Aviv University in
        patients themselves, have observed   Using this artificial skin model,   Israel also participated in the study.
        an aesthetic and functional healing   scientists have shown that applying
        of the sites treated in this way.    an electric field to the skin affects   Story Source:
        However, the mechanisms behind       many genes that influence collagen   Materials provided by CNRS. Note:
        this observation had never been      production and maturation. As       Content may be edited for style and
        elucidated.                          soon as four hours after applying   length.
                                             the electric field, less collagen is
        A research team, involving           produced. This lasts for several days.   Journal Reference:
        researchers from the CNRS, the       In addition, enzymes that degrade   1. Sara Gouarderes, Camille Ober,
        Université Toulouse III -- Paul      collagen have increased activity for at   Layal Doumard, Jany Dandurand,
        Sabatier and Toulouse INP, used a    least 48 hours.                     Patricia Vicendo, Isabelle Fourquaux,
        highly sophisticated synthetic skin                                      Alexander Golberg, Valérie
        model, especially used to treat large   The application of an electric field to   Samouillan, Laure Gibot. Pulsed
        burns. This artificial skin model    the skin therefore presents a great   electric fields induce extracellular
        has the advantage of being rich in   potential for future therapeutic use in   matrix remodeling through MMPs
        extracellular matrix, comparable to   the treatment of skin fibrosis.    activation and decreased collagen
        human skin in terms of composition                                       production. Journal of Investigative
        and organization. This matrix is mainly  Notes:                          Dermatology, 2021; DOI: 10.1016/j.
        composed of collagen, well known     1 -- Participating scientists were   jid.2021.09.025

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