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Research Supports Plant Stem Cell Extracts

There are several plant-derived stem cell extracts available for cosmeceutical use; however, research has predominately focused on three with various levels of scientific rigor. Components found in grape, lilac and Swiss apple have been shown to be rich sources of phyto stem cells. Probably the most widely and longest studied botanical is the vitis vinifera, otherwise known as the grape seed. Studies dating back more than a decade suggest that grape seeds are known to contain anti-inflammatory properties, prevent skin aging, scavenge oxygen free radicals and inhibit UV radiation-induced activity. 12 More recently published in vitro and in vivo studies have identified proanthocyanidins — a group of polyphenolic bioflavonoids — in grape seeds and their stem cells as being responsible for its high anti-tumor-promoting activity because of their strong antioxidant effect.11-17 The mechanism of action is not entirely understood, but it appears that the photo- protective effects of grape seed proanthocyanidins (GSPs) are mediated, at least, through protection of the endogenous antioxidant defense system and prevention of photodamage of macromolecules, lipids, proteins and DNA, which leads to inhibition of activation of the MAPK and NF- kB pathways.11,16 Some studies have demonstrated that GSPs exert a significantly stronger oxygen free radical scavenging effect than vitamins C and E. 18,19 When topically applied, GSPs have demonstrated substantial photoprotective effects. As an example, when a gel formation containing Jacquez grapes was topically applied to healthy human volunteers, it afforded significant in vivo protection against UVB light-induced skin erythema.20 Like grape seed, verbascoside extracted from various plants, including the syringa vulgaris or common lilac, is known to have antioxidant properties.21,22 When studied in vitro and in vivo, verbascoside was found to possess significantly accelerated wound healing and remarkable anti-inflammatory action.23 These effects were attributed to its ability to inhibit the ROS release by recruiting pro-inflammatory cells to the damaged skin. In fact, the verbascoside-containing extracts were found to be more effective than both hydrocortisone and triamcinolone in inhibiting inflammation.23 Although verbascoside is known to rapidly repair DNA oxidative damage, its mechanism of action is not clearly understood. In one study, verbascoside dramatically impaired NF-kB and AP-1 binding activity, suggesting that it has distinct mechanisms in the suppression of oxidative stress induced in keratinocytes by different stimuli.24 Thus, verbascoside may offer protection of the skin from both inflammatory and environmental insults. However, other studies attribute verbascoside’s ability to quickly repair DNA damage to its non-enzymatic fast repair mechanisms and not to its scavenging activity for ROS.25-27 Its fast repair reaction has the added benefit of preventing the ROS from causing further damage. While other plant stem cell extracts are currently being used in topical products, further research should be done to prove the efficacy.An ingredient manufacturer’s study showed that a 0.1% concentration of stem cells extracted from Swiss apple stimulated the proliferation of human stem cells by 80%.28 In a trial with 20 patients,a cream containing the apple extract was found to reduce wrinkle depth by 8% after 2 weeks and 15% after 4 weeks. Similarly, a cream and serum containing stem cells extracted from the edelweiss plant, which has been investigated for its anti-inflammatory properties, is reported to reduce wrinkle depth. Additional research is needed to verify the validity of these studies. #Regenere3D


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