Skin is a natural barrier of human body and a visual indicator of aging process. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in the sunlight may injure the skin tissues and cause local damage. Besides, it is reported that repetitive or long-term exposure to UV radiation may reduce the collagen production, change the normal skin structure and cause premature skin aging. This is termed “photoaging”. The classical symptoms of photoaging include increased roughness, wrinkle formation, mottled pigmentation or even precancerous changes. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a kind of cells with the ability of self-renewal and multidirectional differentiation into many types of cells, like adipocytes, osteoblasts and chondrocytes. Researchers have explored diverse pharmacological actions of MSCs because of their migratory activity, paracrine actions and immunoregulation effects. In recent years, the huge potential of MSCs in preventing skin from photoaging has gained wide attention. MSCs exert their beneficial effects on skin photoaging via antioxidant effect, anti-apoptotic/anti-inflammatory effect, reduction of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and activation of dermal fibroblasts proliferation. MSCs and MSC related products have demonstrated huge potential in the treatment of skin photoaging. This narrative review concisely sums up the recent research developments on the roles of MSCs in protection against photoaging and highlights the enormous potential of MSCs in skin photoaging treatment.
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