For the first time, Brazilian scientists have succeeded in generating functional sensory neurons responsive to chemical irritants reaching a major milestone in the understanding of skin physiology, sensoriality and pain mechanisms.
After 5 years of collaboration between scientists from the D'Or Institute for Research & Education and L'Oréal R&I, in partnership with UFRJ, Unicamp and Embrapa, the discoveries were published in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience. Following stem cell reprogramming, the team at the D'Or Institute grew neurons in conditions close to human physiology, in the presence of keratinocytes. The crosstalk between these two cell types and the release of substance produced by keratinocytes allowed the in vitro development and the maturation of the sensory neurons and further confirmed the key role of neurons in sustaining skin renewal.
‘In the laboratory, a research team successfully generated human neurons responsive to sensorial stimuli.’
The newly generated sensory neurons exhibit specific characteristics, including the detection of painful stimuli and the release of chemicals responsible for transmitting pain signals to the brain.
This achievement paves the way for multiple applications in both the medical and the cosmetic research fields. ''One possible application for this methodology is to study how these neurons act in diseases such as chronic pain, which affects millions of people in Brazil and in the world. There is also a great potential for the study of analgesic and anxiolytic drugs", adds Stevens Rehen, corresponding author and principal investigator at both D'Or Institute and UFRJ.
''The outcome of this exciting collaboration with our partners in Brazil will allow us on the one hand to deepen our understanding of one key component of the skin physiology that was hard to grasp due to the lack of availability of such cells, and on the other hand to develop reconstructed human skin with enhanced neuro-inflammation predictivity and ultimately the next beauty products for sensitive and aged skin'', says Charbel Bouez, head of advanced research, L'OREAL R&I America.