Background: Microdermabrasion is a popular method of superficial skin resurfacing with effects on dermal remodeling. Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relative importance of the two components of microdermabrasion, negative pressure and abrasion, in stimulating expression of key genes involved in dermal remodeling. Methods: Ten subjects were treated with a microdermabrasion machine using focal crystal abrasion and negative pressure or negative pressure alone for 3 seconds. Serial biochemical analyses were performed. Reverse transcriptase real-time polymerase chain reaction assays were used to evaluate changes in transcription factor activator protein-1, primary cytokines (interleukin 1β, tumor necrosis factor-α), and matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-1, MMP-3, MMP-9). Results: Significant increases in gene expression of the c-Jun component of activator protein-1, interleukin 1β, tumor necrosis factor-α, MMP-1, MMP-3, and MMP-9 were found with crystal abrasion combined with negative pressure. Negative pressure alone resulted in increased gene expression of MMP-1 and MMP-3 but of a quantitatively reduced magnitude when compared with negative pressure with crystal abrasion. Limitations: It is unclear that molecular changes seen with these treatments can result in clinical effect. Conclusion: The abrasive component of microdermabrasion is necessary for stimulating expression of key genes involved in dermal remodeling.
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