Azelaic acid (AzA) counteracts stress-induced premature cell senescence, a finding that may explain anectodal evidence of AzA’s effect on skin texture among rosacea suffers, say researchers at the San Gallicano Dermatology Institute in Rome, Italy. Stefania Briganti, et al, used a stress-induced premature cell senescence (SIPS) model based on human dermal fibroblasts that underwent a single exposure to 8-methoxypsoralen PUVA. The PUVA-treated fibroblasts that were grown in the presence of AzA maintained their morphology and showed reduced MMP-1 release and reduced SA-B-galactosidase-positive cells compared to non-AzA-exposed, PUVA-treated fibroblasts. Additionally, the researchers observed a reduction in reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, an up-modulation of antioxidant enzymes and a decrease in cell membrane lipid damage. The study also reports repression of p53 and p21 as well as an increase in type I pro-collagen and the abrogation of enhanced expression of HGF and SCF growth factors as further evidence of anti-senescence action. “”PUVA-SIPS showed a decreased activation of PPARy and AzA counteracted this effect, suggesting that AzA effect involves PPARy modulation,” says the authors. “All together these data showed that AzA interferes with PUVA-induced senescence-like phenotype, and its ability to activate PPARy provides relevant insight into the anti-senescence mechanism.” The study appears in Experimental Dermatology, Vol. 22, Issue 1, January 2013.