Beiersdorf and Charité Berlin discover ‘inner clock’ in skin cells

Provides new prospects for skin care and medicine

Beiersdorf AG and researchers from the Charité University Medicine Berlin have discovered the existence of an ‘inner clock’ in human skin cells, which controls skin regeneration.

The test, conducted in Beiersdorf’s Test Center in Hamburg, studied the circadian rhythms of the stress hormone cortisol in the skin of 20 test subjects. Cell samples were also taken from 20 subjects in the Berlin Sleep Lab in four hour intervals over the course of 24 hours. Analysis revealed that about 10% of the genes in skin cells follow their own rhythm and some interesting results were found when analysing the molecule Krüppel-like-factor 9 (Klf9); Klf9 stood out as being mostly active during the day, while cell division was significantly slower when its concentration was increased in the samples.

Jörn Hendrik Reuter, Head of the General Skin Care Laboratory at Beiersdorf, said: “The findings about the influence of Klf9 on cell division, for example, could be the impetus of the development of a new kind of anti-ageing care. We could try to bring skin that is out of synch back into rhythm with its inner clock or perhaps we can address problems caused by lifestyle with skin care that targets chronobiology.”

Meanwhile, Professor Achim Kramer from the Chronobiology Department of Charité Berlin, said: “With these findings the next step we might be able to take in research is finding out what the best time of day is for operating on someone so that their wound heals best. This is just one of the promising implications for medical research.”