PhytoCellTec™ Goji is a cosmetic ingredient based on stem cells of the goji berry that vitalizes mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Mesenchymal stem cells are a type of stem cell in the skin that is important for various regeneration processes, such as wound healing. They are able to signal to fibroblasts to produce more collagen and elastin in the dermis.
The goji berry
The plants of the superfruit goji (Lycium barbarum) are native to Southeast Europe and Asia. They belong to the nightshade family - just like tomatoes and potatoes - and they grow up to 3 meters high. The red-orange goji berries that are harvested from this plant are one of the most famous superfruits. Nowadays, goji berries are eaten all over the world, mostly in dried form, and there are various goji berry supplements on the market with the reported effect claims ranging from anti-aging, immune boosting and energizing to improved memory.
Skin aging process and exosomes
As we age, the production of collagen and elastin is reduced, which results in sagging skin that can most notably be observed at the face contours of the jawline. MSCs have been shown to improve collagen production and regenerate the skin, for example during wound healing. These processes are mediated by vesicles known as exosomes which are produced and secreted by these stem cells. Exosomes are small, approximately 100 nm vesicles that are surrounded by a membrane which contains messenger molecules such as RNAs, proteins and lipids. Exosomes derived from mesenchymal stem cells have been shown to have a beneficial effect on other cell types such as fibroblasts and are currently being heavily investigated for their diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.
PhytoCellTec™ Goji revitalizes mesenchymal stem cells and boosts their exosome production. This results in the improved production of extracellular matrix components such as collagen and elastin by fibroblasts. Therefore, one can support the dermal rejuvenation of the skin by stimulating mesenchymal stem cells in order to produce more exosomes. This will in turn lead to a reduced wrinkle appearance, less sagging and thus an improved V-shaped face.
Increase in Exosome Production by Mesenchymal Stem Cells
Human MSCs were either treated or not (control) with 0.1 % Goji stem cell extract for a period of 24 hours. The exosomes that were released from the cells were isolated and quantified. Treatment with Goji stem cell extract leads to an increase in exosome production by MSCs. Results also showed that PhytoCellTec™ Goji is able to rejuvenate mesenchymal stem cells and help them maintain their stemness. After demonstrating the effect on exosome production in MSCs, it was investigated as to whether mesenchymal stem cells treated with Goji stem cell extract are able to communicate with fibroblasts in order to produce more extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. Results showed that the conditioned medium from Goji stem cell extract-treated MSCs increased the gene expression of several ECM factors such as collagen 3 and 16 and Elastin. PLOD1 is crucial for collagen production, while LOX (lysyl oxidase) connects collagen and elastin to ensure more stability and elasticity.
Improvement of Wrinkle Depth
Twenty-three volunteers who displayed signs of photoaging applied either a cream with 0.4 % PhytoCellTec™ Goji on one-half of the face and the corresponding placebo on the other half of the face, twice daily for a period of 56 days. The wrinkle depth was measured. Treatment with PhytoCellTec™ Goji led to an average decrease in wrinkle depth of 11 % compared to the placebo. As shown in the pictures below, treatment with 0.4 % PhytoCellTec™ Goji improved the appearance of wrinkles in the eye area. Notably, not only fine wrinkles below the eye appeared smoother (see upper panel), but deeper lines were also visibly improved (see lower panel).
Improvement of Oval Face Shape
As we age, the production of collagen and elastin is reduced, which results in sagging skin that can most notably be observed at the face contours of the jawline. Sixty-seven Caucasian women (average age 57 years) with sagging facial skin were split into two groups. One group applied a cream with 0.4 % PhytoCellTec™ Goji and the other group applied the corresponding placebo cream on the entire face and neck twice daily for 28 days. The facial sagging and oval face shape was determined by measuring the size of the neck/submandibular triangle area by image analysis of the pictures of the volunteers’ faces that were taken with Visioface. Results showed that treatment for four weeks with 0.4 % PhytoCellTec™ Goji significantly improved the oval face shape by 6 % compared to initial conditions. This demonstrates that PhytoCellTec™ Goji is indeed able to reduce facial sagging and visibly improve the oval shape of the face.