Randhawa, M, et al. Metabolic signature of sun exposed skin suggests catabolic pathway overweighs anabolic pathway. PLoS One, 2014. 9(3):e90367.
Skin chronically exposed to sun results in phenotypic changes referred as photoaging. This aspect of aging has been studied extensively through genomic and proteomic tools. Metabolites, the end product are generated as a result of biochemical reactions are often studied as a culmination of complex interplay of gene and protein expression. In this study, we focused exclusively on the metabolome to study effects from sun-exposed and sun-protected skin sites from 25 human subjects. We generated a highly accurate metabolomic signature for the skin that is exposed to sun. Biochemical pathway analysis from this data set showed that sun-exposed skin resides under high oxidative stress and the chains of reactions to produce these metabolites are inclined toward catabolism rather than anabolism. These catabolic activities persuade the skin cells to generate metabolites through the salvage pathway instead of de novo synthesis pathways. Metabolomic profile suggests catabolic pathways and reactive oxygen species operate in a feed forward fashion to alter the biology of sun exposed skin.