Tissue Mechanics in Haired Murine Skin: Potential Implications for Skin Aging

Hans I.Chen Harn*, Chih Chiang Chen, Sheng Pei Wang, Mingxing Lei, Cheng Ming Chuong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

During aging, the skin undergoes changes in architecture and composition. Skin aging phenotypes occur due to accumulated changes in the genome/epigenome, cytokine/cell adhesion, cell distribution/extracellular matrix (ECM), etc. Here we review data suggesting that tissue mechanics also plays a role in skin aging. While mouse and human skin share some similarities, their skin architectures differ in some respects. However, we use recent research in haired murine skin because of the available experimental data. Skin suffers from changes in both its appendages and inter-appendage regions. The elderly exhibit wrinkles and loose dermis and are more likely to suffer from wounds and superficial abrasions with poor healing. They also have a reduction in the number of skin appendages. While telogen is prolonged in aging murine skin, hair follicle stem cells can be rejuvenated to enter anagen if transplanted to a young skin environment. We highlight recent single-cell analyses performed on epidermis and aging human skin which identified new basal cell subpopulations that shift in response to wounding. This may be due to alterations of basement membrane stiffness which would change tissue mechanics in aging skin, leading to altered homeostatic dynamics. We propose that the extracellular matrix (ECM) may play a key role as a chemo-mechanical integrator of the multi-layered senescence-associated signaling pathways, dictating the tissue mechanical landscape of niche microenvironments in aging phenotypes. We show examples where failed chemo-mechanical signaling leads to deteriorating homeostasis during skin aging and suggest potential therapeutic strategies to guide future research to delay the aging processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number635340
JournalFrontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
Volume9
DOIs
StatePublished - 19 Feb 2021

Keywords

  • extracellular matrix
  • hair regeneration
  • macroenvironment
  • microenvironment
  • skin aging
  • skin tension
  • tensional homeostasis
  • tissue mechanics

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