Clinical data published in recent years have demonstrated the positive effects of collagen hydrolysate (CH) on skin aging clinical signs. CH use as a food supplement has a long history; however, few studies have addressed the underlying purpose of CH on the cellular and molecular biology of skin cells that could elucidate clinical improvement findings. A wide diversity of characteristics has been reported for dermal fibroblasts derived from different body sites and it is unknown whether collagen peptides could modulate differently cells from chronological aged and photoaged skin areas. This study investigated the influence of CH on the extracellular matrix metabolism and proliferation of human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs) derived from chronological aged (sun-protected) and photoaged (sun-exposed) body sites. CH treatment did not affect cellular proliferation of either cell cultures, but notably modulated cell metabolism in monolayer model, increasing the content of dermal matrix precursor and main protein, procollagen I and collagen I, respectively. These effects were confirmed in the human dermal equivalent model. The increase in collagen content in the cultures was attributed to stimulation of biosynthesis and decreased collagen I metabolism through inhibition of metalloproteinase activity (MMP) 1 and 2. Modulation of CH in dermal metabolism did not differ between cells derived from sun-protected and sun-exposed areas, although lower concentrations of CH seemed to be enough to stimulate sun-exposed-derived HDFs, suggesting a more pronounced effect in these cells. This study contributes to understanding the biological effects of CH on skin cells and the viability of its use as a functional ingredient in food supplements.
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