As skin aging is one of the most common dermatological concerns in recent years, scientific research has promoted treatment strategies aimed at preventing or reversing skin aging. Breakdown of the extracellular matrix (ECM), such as collagen and elastin fibers, in the skin results in decreased skin elasticity and tension. Cutaneous cells, especially fibroblasts in the dermis layer of the skin, mainly produce ECM proteins. Although clinical studies have demonstrated that placental extract (PE) has positive effects on skin health, the molecular mechanisms by which PE acts against skin aging are still largely unknown. In this study, we performed RNA-sequence analysis to investigate whether human PE (HPE) alters ECM-related gene expression in normal human dermal fibroblast (NHDF) cells. Gene ontology analysis showed that genes related to extracellular matrix/structure organization, such as COL1A1, COL5A3, ELN, and HAS2 were highly enriched, and most of these genes were upregulated. We further confirmed that the HPE increased the type I collagen, proteoglycan versican, elastin, and hyaluronan levels in NHDF cells. Our results demonstrate that HPE activates global ECM-related gene expression in NHDF cells, which accounts for the clinical evidence that the HPE affects skin aging.

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