Natural Aging Without Chemical Treatments

Traditional in vitro aging methods have two key weaknesses:

  • they depend on the use of acute, non-physiological doses of peroxide
  • they expose cells in traditional culture media, which actively resist the aging process

The VitroAge model addresses these weaknesses by aging cells over several weeks, without external chemical treatments, in an evironment that does not actively resist the normal aging process.

This model provides increased sensitivity, and also a broader insight into a wide range of age-related changes.


Fewer and longer cell cycles seen with age in vivo are also evident in the VitroAge model in vitro.

Chronic Aging In Vitro

Standard cell culture media actively resist the aging process using a highly concentrated mix of stimulative and protective amino acids, vitamins, and growth factors.

As a result, standard media are a very poor foundation for in vitro aging studies, as the medium formulation can easily overwhelm any anti-aging affect of the active ingredient.

In contrast CELLnTEC’s new VitroAge culture medium (CnT-AG2) is the first in vitro environment specifically designed to encourage natural aging of epidermal progenitors at a moderate speed, without the need for non-physiological, acute doses of oxidisers or other chemicals traditionally used to try and age cells in vitro.

In Vivo Signs of Aging Now Seen In Vitro with VitroAge

The Vitroage epidermal model maintains normal cell morphology, but generates several well documented in vivo signs of ageing including reduced lifespan and disrupted metabolism. For an overview of key ageing-related literature, please click here.

It is now well documented that the aged epidermis is characterized by a reduced number and function of transient-amplifying progenitor cells (Charruyer et al, JID 2009). In particular, these progenitors were found to cycle more slowly, and fewer times in aged tissue. A similar reduction in cell cycle kinetics is also observed in VitroAge during 4 weeks of culture (see Figure at right).

Disrupted metabolism is also a well documented feature of aged tissues, and is seen in keratinocytes aged in CnT-AG2. More recent insights have also highlighted a vicious circle centered on increased p53, disrupted mitochondrial output and reduced stem cell function (Green et al, Science 2011).

A poster describing the VitroAge model was presented at the International Investigative Dermatology meeting (IID) in 2013. For a PDF copy, click here.

Mechanistic Insights with Multiplex Proteomics

Multiplex proteomics is an ideal tool to obtain a more mechanistic insight into how keratinocytes age in the VitroAge model, and also how active ingredients can delay the aging process.

For more info about proteomic changes in the VitroAge model, please click here.

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