An anti-aging compound based on the naturally occurring ‘antifreeze’ glycoproteins found in Antarctic fish may be the next big thing in anti-ageing skin care.
The fish –antifreeze’ was first discovered in the late 1960s by Professor Arthur DeVries, who established that the resistance to freezing temperatures in Antarctic fish was due to blood serum glycoproteins that protected the fish cells against the harsh and freezing environment.
Professor DeVries findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, were the first to search the genome of Antarctic fish for clues to their astounding hardiness. DeVries discovered some Antarctic fish manufacture their own “antifreeze proteins.”
Half a century later, Canadian-based biochemical company Sirona Biochem have now developed a synthetic copy of these fish antifreeze compounds that is suitable for use in skincare products.[quote]Studies carried out by the company on the new antifreeze ingredient have shown that these glycoproteins protect not only against freezing, but also against environmental stressors such as UV light, oxidation and nutrient deprivation.[/quote]
Published Australian research carried out at The University of Sydney found that Antifreeze glycoproteins (AFGPs) constitute the major fraction of protein specifically found in the blood serum of Antarctic notothenioids and Arctic cod.
There are eight families of notothenioid fish, and five of them inhabit the Southern Ocean, the sea that encircles the Antarctic continent. These fish can withstand temperatures that would turn most fish to ice. Their ability to live in the cold and oxygen-rich extremes is so extraordinary that they make up more than 90 percent of the fish biomass of the Southern Ocean.[quote]The researchers found that the Antarctic fish produce proteins that bind to ice crystals in the blood to prevent the fish from freezing, allowing the fish to survive in subzero ice-laden polar oceans.[/quote]
The ability of these compounds to modify the rate and shape of crystal growth and protect cellular membranes mean that they have potential for use in skincare for the preservation and hypothermal storage of skin cells and tissues. Skincare giant L’Oreal has already singled out the new ingredient for use in their future anti-ageing skincare products.