Science of Hyaluronic Acid Beyond Filling: Fibroblasts and Their Response to the Extracellular Matrix

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Summary:Loss of viscoelasticity is one of the primarily signs of skin aging, followed by appearance of visible wrinkles. Hyaluronic acid (HA)-based fillers are widely used to fill wrinkles and compensate for volume loss. Recent clinical observations demonstrate persistence of the filling effect longer than the biological availability of the filler. Stimulation of new collagen by cross-linked HA and up-regulation of elastin have been suggested as possible explanation to this observation and have been supported experimentally. Cross-linked HA substitutes for fragmented collagen in restoring extracellular matrix required for normal activity of fibroblasts, such as collagen and elastin production. To restore extracellular matrix efficiently, serial monthly treatments are required. Boosting of facial and nonfacial skin through fibroblast activation is a new indication for HA-based products. Injectable HA has also been recently registered in Europe as agents specific for the improvement of skin quality (Restylane Skinboosters). Further explanation of the possible mechanisms supported by long-term clinical examples is presented herein.

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