Author(s): Oba A, Edwards C
BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation induces various cutaneous changes that differ from those because of physiological aging, including structural destruction of dermal collagen fiber bundles (DCFBs), which comprise the major component of the dermis. Wrinkling, a representative change in skin surface associated with photoaging, is often seen at the corners of the eyes and in the space between the eyebrows. These are locations where the skin contracts repeatedly and routinely. Lowered resiliency to skin contraction induced by marked structural changes in DCFBs may represent one cause of photo-induced wrinkles. Using animal models of photoaging, changes in mechanical properties of the skin caused by UV irradiation were measured, and relationships between UV-induced changes were analyzed.
METHODS: Animal models of photoaging were prepared by irradiating hairless mice with UVB light. Dorsal skin surface replicas of animals were taken using silicon rubber, and volume of wrinkles was calculated using an image analyzer. Stress of the skin against horizontal contraction was measured using a new device called the Resiliometer. Three-dimensional organization of dermal collagen structures in skin samples collected from the back of each animal was observed under scanning electron microscopy, and compactness of DCFBs was assessed from electron micrography.
RESULTS: With time and therefore increasing UV dose, deep wrinkles formed on the backs of mice. Volume of wrinkles peaked at 8 weeks. All parameters obtained from Resiliometer measurements were increased by irradiation. DCFB structure was degraded in a radiation dose-dependent manner. DCFB grading was significantly correlated with each Resiliometer parameter. Significant correlations were also observed between each Resiliometer parameter and volume of wrinkles.
CONCLUSION: Stress of the skin against horizontal contraction obtained using the Resiliometer changes following UV irradiation, correlating with photo-induced wrinkling and destruction of DCFBs. These results support the hypothesis that changed force of restitution to skin contraction induced by marked structural changes in DCFBs represents one cause of photo-induced wrinkles. The resiliometric parameter may offer a good indicator for monitoring the condition of DCFB structure, as changes in these would induce failure in restitution to skin contraction, leading to wrinkling.