Why are sirtuins exciting or important?
Dr. Pernodet: After sirtuins were discovered, there was a rise of interest when they were reported to be linked to lifespan. These proteins have also been found to be present at a higher level in people 100 or more years old.
Further scientific research has shown that they’re critical to keeping cells healthier for a longer time—therefore increasing health span. That’s why they are also known as “longevity proteins.” So, this field of research to find ways to help cells function optimally for a longer period of time, is, of course, very exciting!
What should people know about sirtuins?
Dr. Pernodet: Sirtuins are a family of proteins with 7 members, SIRTs 1-7. They are present in all cells in our body—including skin cells. Research has shown that sirtuins are involved in key pathways that fight aging such as metabolism/energy and control of inflammation. This makes them critical to helping cells function better for longer and it's why they have been shown to help increase health span in different organisms.
The sirtuins are critical players in many pathways in a range of different processes. What’s their role in skin and skin cell longevity specifically?
Dr. Pernodet: Inspired by this longevity science, we at Estée Lauder have now been studying the role of sirtuins in skin for over 15 years and have shown that sirtuins are vital to keeping skin cells functioning and healthier for a longer time.
We started by studying SIRT-1 in collaboration with Dr. Guarente’s lab from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who made the primary discoveries on sirtuins. This work showed that SIRT-1 helps to promote skin cell differentiation for the barrier, and our research also showed SIRT-1 helps to support repair.
Further studies in partnership with Harvard scientists demonstrated that SIRT-3 helps skin cells to restore their natural ability to produce energy.
Our interest in Sirtuins expanded and we began to focus on SIRT-6. There was little research in this area on skin cells, which required us to develop our own models to understand how critical is SIRT-6 is for skin cells. We showed its incredible impact on keeping inflammation under control in normal conditions, but also in times of stress.
We did the same for SIRT-2. We have been on the forefront of its research proving how it is associated with helping maintain cellular shape and force to enhance skin’s lifting capacity. Taken together, we understand how each of them supports different key activities in skin cells to keep skin looking and acting younger.
How is Estée Lauder leveraging sirtuin science into skin research?
Dr. Pernodet: Based on our findings, we understood that researching technologies that help support sirtuin levels was critical. As of today, we have been able to identify SIRT-1,3,6 and 2 activators. Our experiments on skin cells, treated with these activators, have shown that skin cells have the ability to act much younger than their actual chronological age with respect to certain activities. Our findings demonstrate that the activity of SIRTS is associated with looking and acting younger, for longer.
What sirtuin research are you working on now? What does the future hold?
Dr. Pernodet: We continue to learn how SIRTs contribute to the overall well-being of different cell types and gain insight into how the combination of multiple SIRT activators can yield powerful technologies to help counter skin aging.
What are your hopes for sirtuins? What’s the ultimate goal?
Dr. Pernodet: The research we’ve done shows that sirtuins are related to skin cells acting younger with respect to certain activities, which can result in improving skin texture and tone, its youthful structure and elasticity. As this research is still early, we will continue and hope to unlock further secrets from sirtuins to positively impact the look of skin!
We think there are many more opportunities to unlock additional ways to keep skin performing optimally. We hope that our future research continues to identify additional knowledge and benefits about the role of sirtuins in skin. This helps us achieve our ultimate goal of always pushing to develop skincare founded on science and formulated with advanced technologies.
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