AGEs in skin

Here are two 2022 human studies that non-invasively measured advanced glycation end products in skin, starting with one investigating AGEs, carotenoids, and glaucoma:

“This study is the first to simultaneously estimate AGE and skin carotenoid (SC) levels using fingertip sensors in patients with glaucoma.

Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is a major risk factor, and lowering IOP through medication or surgery is the main therapeutic option. Numerous risk factors, such as genetics, inflammation, ocular blood flow, and oxidative stress have been proposed by diverse nonclinical and clinical studies; however, the only reliable parameter used in clinical practice is IOP.

Most carotenoids, such as α- and β-carotenes, β-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, have a maximal absorption wavelength of around 480 nm; therefore, the carotenoid score reflects the bulk of these carotenoid molecules. Intraocular levels of lutein, (3R,3′R)-zeaxanthin, and meso-(3R,3′S)-zeaxanthin, the only carotenoids present in macular pigment, and their antioxidant activity are difficult to estimate directly.

Although carotenoid levels reflect previous intake of vegetables, this lifestyle factor is also difficult to determine. Given that SC levels were mainly associated with vegetable intake for about 1 month, SC can be a good endpoint to assess roles of carotenoids in various diseases in clinical situations.

We found that low SC levels were associated with:

  • Male gender;
  • History of intraocular surgery;
  • Current smoking status;
  • Diabetes;
  • Low vegetable intake score; and
  • High levels of AGEs.

No significant association with glaucoma type was detected. However, AGE levels were higher in exfoliation glaucoma than primary open-angle glaucoma and controls.” “Fingertip-Measured Skin Carotenoids and Advanced Glycation End Product Levels in Glaucoma”

A second study focused on cardiovascular risk:

“AGEs cause arterial stiffness by two main mechanisms:

  • Interaction with arterial walls, which cause functional and structural changes that lead to an over production or cross-linking of collagen, and a decreased level of elastin; or
  • Interacting with receptors for AGEs, thereby activating different signaling pathways, which lead to enhanced production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and vascular adhesion molecules responsible for atherosclerosis.

Our results show that increases in the level of AGEs in Korean patients with type 2 diabetes is associated with arterial pulse wave velocity and vein age, i.e., measures of arterial stiffness. Consequently, subject levels of AGEs were correlated with cardiovascular risk factors. AGE levels can be used as an indicator for CVDs in clinical diagnosis.” “Skin accumulation of advanced glycation end products and cardiovascular risk in Korean patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus”


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