Connective tissue biochemistry of the aging dermis. Age-related alterations in collagen and elastin

Dermatol Clin. 1986 Jul;4(3):433-46.


Cutaneous aging represents a complex situation in which at least two independent factors--innate aging and solar exposure--contribute to the development of degenerative changes in the dermis. The biochemical and ultrastructural evidence reviewed in this article indicates that reduced collagen deposition, as a result of diminished collagen biosynthesis and reduced proliferative capacity of the fibroblasts, could explain the development of dermal atrophy and would relate to poor wound healing in the elderly. At the same time, perturbations in the supramolecular organization of the elastic fiber network lead to alterations in the mechanical properties of the skin, as manifested by loose and sagging skin with reduced resilience and elasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging* / radiation effects
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry
  • Collagen / metabolism*
  • Collagen / radiation effects
  • Connective Tissue / metabolism*
  • Connective Tissue / radiation effects
  • Connective Tissue / ultrastructure
  • Elastic Tissue / metabolism
  • Elastic Tissue / radiation effects
  • Elastic Tissue / ultrastructure
  • Elastin / metabolism*
  • Elastin / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Skin / radiation effects
  • Skin / ultrastructure
  • Skin Diseases / metabolism
  • Sunlight / adverse effects


  • Collagen
  • Elastin