1. Home
  2. Innovation
  3. Research Areas
  4. Basic Research on Dermatology


Basic Research on Dermatology

Stem Cell Research

Shiseido made the following 4 discoveries as a result of researches with the focus on dermal stem cells. Wrinkles, reduced elasticity, and sagging are caused mainly due to aged dermis. The fibroblasts which produce dermal components are separated from the dermal stem cells; therefore, the dermal stem cells play the role of a control tower in order for skin to self-restore. The fact that stable dermal stem cells exist is important to prevent/improve aging of dermis. (Soma T, et al: Methods Mol. Biol. 989: 265-274.2013)

  • Dermal stem cells, which produce dermal fibroblasts, can exist around blood vessels in a stable manner.
  • In order for dermal stem cells to stably exist around blood vessels, PDGF-BB (platelet-derived growth factor) is required.
  • The dermal stem cells and PDGF-BB decrease with age.
  • We discovered “inositol” as the ingredient for promoting the development of PDGF-BB.
Dermal stem cell

Dermatological Research using Mathematical Modeling

In dermatology, there are still many unknown elements regarding pathogenic mechanisms of various symptoms involving the deteriorated barrier function. These include “itch from atopic dermatitis/senile xerosis”, “sensitive skin”, “aged epidermis”, as well as the mechanism for the “barrier function recovery process”. Therefore, a fundamental treatment method has not been established. Toward the resolution of this major issue, Shiseido participated in “the project CREST research by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)”, which is one of the JST Strategic Basic Research Programs promoted by the Japan government. We have been promoting advanced skin research, in which mathematical modeling and computer simulations are integrated into the dermatological research, since October of 2010 in order to uncover the underlying mechanisms and establish fundamental treatment methods.

Research regarding itch measures

3D image of  the inside of the human skin
It has been considered that itching occurs due to changes in the nerve structure within skin. Shiseido successfully visualized the 3Dstructure of nerve fibers within human skin for the first time in the world by using a two-photon laser microscope and, in the future, we will promote research with dermatologists regarding the nerve structure within the skin of patients suffering from itch, while simultaneously creating a mathematical model related to nerve fiber extensions, in order to understand the itch mechanism, based on investigations using computer simulations.

Related references:
Tsutsumi M, et al: Exp. Dermatol. 20: 464-467, 2011
Tsutsumi M, et al: Exp. Dermatol. 21: 886-888, 2012

Research regarding skin’s aging measures

It has been considered that epidermal aging is caused due to changes in calcium distribution within the epidermis. We aim to identify the causal genes and clarify the cause of epidermal aging by promoting research based on the “newborn skin model” and with the aim to make a proposal for the prevention of aging.

Related references:
Nagayama: Mathematics Seminar 49; 14-18, 2010
Tsutsumi M, et al: Skin Res.Technology 16: 146-150, 2010
Kumamoto J, et al: Exp. Dermatol. 22: 421-413, 2013

Newborn skin model

Blood Vessel/Lymphatic Vessel Research

Blood vessels, which supply nutrition and oxygen to the skin, and lymphatic vessels, which collect waste materials of the skin, are very important organs.
We discovered that the changes in those organs are closely related to skin’s aging.

Lymphatic vessel: Its function deteriorates due to UV rays

Normal skin Skin exposed to UV rays

Lymphatic vessels (brown) are usually close and look like lines. However, it was found that when they are exposed to UV rays, they significantly expand, their collection function deteriorates, and waste materials accumulate in the skin, leading to skin’s aging.

Blood vessel: Excess amount of nutrition is likely to flow out from capillaries of people in their 40’s

Capillaries have a double structure of vessel endothelial cells (green) surrounded by wall cells (red) (blood vessel of people in their 30’s) .
However, we discovered that people in their 40’s loose the wall cells (red), and excess amount of nutrition is likely to flow out from their capillaries; therefore, sufficient nutrition cannot be delivered throughout their skin, leading to deteriorated skin.

Blood vessel