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Research Cosmetic peptides: a new research platform


Cosmetic peptides: a new research platform

Publié le : 26-02-2013

The Cosmetic Valley is partnering in a European project supported by the University of Rouen, aiming to offer a network of expertise and tools at the forefront of research on cosmetic peptides. This project called PeReNE (Peptide Research Network of Excellence) is presented in this article.


What are peptides ?

eptides are chains of amino acids which can be natural or synthetic. Biologically active peptides are involved in all major biological functions, like for example the neurotransmission, the stress response, the cardiovascular activity or the immune response.


Peptides are active at very low doses, easily metabolized and generally exert specific effects. Because of their key role in most biological processes and their great diversity, peptides and their derivatives offer considerable potential to modify the cellular activity. However, their use in the cosmetic,  pharmaceutical and food industry remains limited due to their low bioavailability and instability. Many research teams in the public and private sector are actively working to overcome these limitations in order to fully exploit the potential of peptides in different areas.


Peptides in cosmetics

The cosmetic industry has been interested for many years in peptides and there are currently more than 100 dermo-cosmetic products containing bioactive peptides. The peptides used in cosmetics are often derived from natural peptides shortened and modifi ed to control their production costs while improving their stability, solubility and ability to penetrate.

In cosmetics, peptides are frequently used to control skin pigmentation. For example, pseudo-peptides agonists of the MC1 receptor derived from α−MSH, like Melitane®, help stimulate melanin dispersion and therefore enhance the tanning process. Conversely, antagonists of the receptor like Melanostatine® 5 block melanin
synthesis and exert a whitening action.


Venom-derived peptides are also used in cosmetics for the design of anti-aging products. This is how waglerin-1, an extract from viper venom acting on the acetylcholine receptor, enabled the development of a synthetic peptide incorporated in anti-wrinkle creams to tone dermis muscles and reduce expression wrinkles. Other peptides like Matrixyl ®, a collagen derivative, promote the regeneration of the extracellular matrix. Currently, active research is continuing to exploit the lipolytic, antioxidant, healing, anti-infl ammatory and antimicrobial properties of  peptides.


The PeReNE project
Developed on the initiative of researchers from the University of Rouen, the PeReNE project (www.perene-project.eu) aims to put the cross-channel area at the forefront of peptide research. This project gathers 23 research teams and three platforms from the Inserm, the CNRS and the Universities of Amiens, Rouen, Caen, Rennes, Brest, Le Havre, Exeter, Southampton, Portsmouth, Brighton, Sussex and Kent. The competitiveness
cluster of the Cosmetic Valley and two companies (BioSIMS and RootLines Technologies) are also partners.


The project which was approved by the Interreg IV A France (Channel) - England programme on October 10, 2012, received a 2.79 million grant from the EU for the 2012- 2015 period to support R&D projects and trainings in the fi eld of peptides. Hence, PeReNE aims to provide expertise and advanced services for the identification of novel bioactive peptides, the characterization of biomarkers, the synthesis of peptidomimetics, the production of peptides in planta, or vectorization.


Companies and laboratories seeking expertise in the field of peptides for their development and wishing to meet the PeReNE project teams can contact us.


Université de Rouen, Mont-Saint-Aignan


Contact :

Christophe MASSON
Research and Innovation Manager


Source : Expression Cosmétique n°19, Janvier/Février 2013

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