JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Progress in the Development of Stem Cell-Derived Cell-Free Therapies for Skin Aging.

INTRODUCTION: The skin is a vital organ as the body's largest barrier, but its function declines with aging. Therefore, research into effective regeneration treatments must continue to advance. Stem cell transplantation, a cell-based therapy, has become a popular skin-aging treatment, although it comes with drawbacks like host immune reactions. Stem cell-derived cell-free therapies have emerged as an alternative, backed by promising preclinical findings. Stem cell secretomes and extracellular vesicles (EVs) are the key components in cell-free therapy from stem cells. However, comprehensive reviews on the mechanisms of such treatments for skin aging are still limited.

PURPOSE: This review discusses stem cell-derived cell-free therapy's potential mechanisms of action related to skin aging prevention by identifying specific molecular targets suitable for the interventions.

METHODS: A search identified 27 relevant in vitro studies on stem cell-derived cell-free therapy interventions in skin aging model cells without restricting publication years using PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar.

RESULTS: Stem cell-derived cell-free therapy can prevent skin aging through various mechanisms, such as (1) involvement of multiple regenerative pathways [NFkb, AP-1, MAPK, P-AKT, NRF2, SIRT-1]; (2) oxidative stress regulation [by reducing oxidants (HO-1, NQO1) and enhancing antioxidants (SOD1, CAT, GP, FRAP)]; (3) preventing ECM degradation [by increasing elastin, collagen, HA, TIMP, and reducing MMP]; (4) regulating cell activity [by reducing cell senescence (SA-β-gal), apoptosis, and cell cycle arrest (P53, P12, P16); and enhancing autophagy, cell migration, and cell proliferation (Ki67)] (5) Regulating the inflammatory pathway [by reducing IL-6, IL-1, TNF-⍺, and increasing TGF-β]. Several clinical trials have also revealed improvements in wrinkles, elasticity, hydration, pores, and pigmentation.

CONCLUSION: Stem cell-derived cell-free therapy is a potential novel treatment for skin aging by cell rejuvenation through various molecular mechanisms.

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