Marine creatures could help maintain youthful appearance

Sea cucumbers and sea urchins could hold the key to looking young, according to scientists at Queen Mary, University of London.

Research showed that sea echinoderm, such as sea cucumbers and urchins, are able to change the elasticity of collagen with their bodies. Their genes hold messenger molecules known as peptides, which are released by cells and tell other cells in their bodies what to do. 
 
The peptides cause the rapid stiffening and/or softening of collagen in the body wall of the sea cucumbers.
 
Professor Maurice Elphick from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Science, said: “Although sea urchins and sea cucumbers may not look much like us, we are actually closely related to them. As we get older, changes in collagen cause wrinkles. If we can find out how peptides cause the body wall of a sea cucumber to quickly become stiff or soft then our research might lead to new ways of keeping the skin looking young.”
 
The studied was published online in the journals PLOS One and General and Comparative Endocrinology.
 
Picture: Jack Jackson for National Geographic