Assessment of skin carbonyl content as a noninvasive measure of biological age

Arch Biochem Biophys. 2002 Jan 15;397(2):430-2. doi: 10.1006/abbi.2001.2683.


The oxidative modification of proteins by reactive species, especially reactive oxygen species, is implicated in the etiology or progression of a panoply of disorders and diseases. For the most part, oxidatively modified proteins are not repaired and must be removed by proteolytic degradation. The level of these modified molecules can be quantitated by measurement of the protein carbonyl content, which has been shown to increase in a variety of diseases and processes, most notably during aging. However, these studies have required invasive techniques to obtain cells for analysis. We examined the possibility that desquamating skin cells (corneocytes) would also show an age-related increase in protein carbonyl content, thus providing a noninvasive method for assessing biological age. This was not the case, as we found no age-dependent relationship in the protein carbonyl content of skin cells from volunteers aged 20 to 79 years.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Aldehydes / analysis
  • Humans
  • Ketones / analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Skin / chemistry*
  • Skin / cytology


  • Aldehydes
  • Ketones
  • Proteins