Karin Scharffetter-Kochanek, dermatologist and head of the Department of Dermatology and Allergology at the University Hospital of Ulm, has spent a long time investigating skin ageing. Her specific focus on skin has not, however, restricted her understanding of ageing to barely deterministic or mechanistic details. Quite the opposite is true. Scharffetter-Kochanek takes an open and broad approach that attempts to place the ageing of individual organs into a systemic relationship that takes all organs into account.
Scharffetter-Kochanek has investigated this effect in a recently identified gene that plays a role in the long-term elevated concentrations of free oxygen radicals. The researchers induced the early ageing of fibroblasts by making them more sensitive to UV irradiation at the same time as irradiating them with long-wave UVA light, which is able to intrude deeper into the connective tissue. Scharffetter-Kochanek will tell us more about the results of her investigation once they have been published.