What happens to the collagen and elastic fibers during aging

Structural Changes Associated with Skin Aging Skin

what happens to the collagen and elastic fibers during aging

Aging of the elastic and collagen fibers in the human cervical interspinous Histomorphometric analysis of ligament samples harvested during surgery.

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There are many reasons why skin wrinkles. The most common are:. Wrinkles are a by-product of the aging process. With age, skin cells divide more slowly, and the inner layer, called the dermis, begins to thin. The network of elastin the protein that causes skin to stretch and collagen fibers the major structural proteins in the skin , which support the outer layer, loosen and unravel, causing depressions on the surface.

If we look at skin that has only endured normal intrinsic or chronological aging, without environmental influences, it is smooth and generally unblemished. There are exaggerated expression lines on the skin, but by and large, the skin is well preserved. Under the microscope, we will see some signs of aging, which include a flattening of the epidermal-dermal interface and some breakdown of the dermal tissue. In direct contrast, extrinsically-aged skin such as that found on our face, hands and chest is wrinkled, sallow in color and has areas of hyper- and hypopigmentation. Skin may show a loss of tone and elasticity, increased fragility, areas of purpura caused by blood vessel weakness and benign lesions such as keratoses, telangiectasis and skin tags.

In the spine the basic functional unit comprises vertebrae, intervertebral disc and ligament tissues. The interspinous ligaments with the function of limiting the spine flexion are exposed to a traumatic and degenerative process that promotes pain or instability. It has been shown that aging induces structural changes to capsular, fascial and ligamentous structures, mainly to the elastic and collagen fibers. However, the relative changes with age in elastic and collagen fibers have not been quantified. PURPOSE: Examine the changes in the arrangement and amount of the elastic and collagen fibers of the human cervical interspinous ligament and attempt to correlate them with age. METHODS: The elastic and collagen fibers were identified by selective staining methods, and a blinded investigator using an image analysis system performed the histomorphometry. However, these elastic fibers showed structural degenerative changes with aging.

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Normal healthy skin has a nice epidermis with a smooth cornified, or outer, layer that acts as a good barrier to water and environmental injury. Skin color and tone is even and unblemished. Components such as collagen which provides skin firmness , elastin which supplies skin elasticity and rebound and glycosaminoglycans or GAGs which keep the skin hydrated are all abundant. It is interesting to note that under a microscope a biopsy of a wrinkle exhibits no telltale signs that reveal it to be a wrinkle. So what causes the skin to look wrinkled? It is probably a multi-factorial process of intrinsic aging and extrinsic aging.

Aging changes in the skin are a group of common conditions and developments that occur as people grow older. Skin changes are among the most visible signs of aging. Evidence of increasing age includes wrinkles and sagging skin. Whitening or graying of the hair is another obvious sign of aging. Each layer also contains connective tissue with collagen fibers to give support and elastin fibers to provide flexibility and strength. Skin changes are related to environmental factors, genetic makeup, nutrition, and other factors. The greatest single factor, though, is sun exposure.

Aging of the elastic and collagen fibers in the human cervical interspinous ligaments.

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