Deuterium-depleted water (DDW) or light water, the opposite of heavy water, is microbiologically pure distilled water characterized by a D/(D+H) deuterium concentration of 20 - 130, i.e. under natural water content which is within 140 - 150 ppm. Variations occur as depending on the geographical zone and altitude. The amount of deuterium varies from 90 ppm in melted Antarctic ice to 180 ppm in underground water below the Sahara Desert. Although mainstream research focused primarily on the effects of deuterated water in organisms, investigations about DDW is scarce. Recent studies unveiled its important role in the regulation of aging by modulating cell growth and other key biochemical processes.
To further investigate this parameter, we examined for the first time the influence of DDW on cutaneous cells proliferation, differentiation, and extracellular matrix synthesis in monolayer cultures and 3D full-thickness skin equivalent model.
To conduct such research, normal human dermal fibroblasts, keratinocytes cultured in 2D and 3D skin equivalents were exposed to DDW at different concentrations (50, 75, 100 ppm) and compared to 150 ppm deuterium ultrapure water (UPW) as a control. The 3D skin model based on a unique collagen glycosaminoglycan-chitosan porous polymer was cultured in DDW for 35 days. Skin equivalent samples were systematically harvested during the course of culture to evaluate by histology and immunohistology the influence of DDW on skin regeneration.
RESULTS / CONCLUSION
Our results in cell monolayer cultures showed that DDW treatments significantly increased the proliferation of fibroblast without a significant effect on keratinocyte proliferation. DDW also promoted the deposit of laminin 332 by epidermal keratinocyte up to 120% in a dose effect manner. Stimulation of collagen I synthesis after 48 hours was only significantly at 50 ppm. Interestingly, DDW significantly promoted the reconstruction of both epidermal and dermal compartments in the 3D skin equivalent models. Treatments dramatically enhanced keratinocyte differentiation, epidermal thickness and extracellular matrix synthesis.
These results support for the first time the importance of deuterium in skin healing process, and provide an insight into DDW utilization in the formulation of dermatological products. The results also show the uses of the full-thickness skin equivalent engineered with a collagen-glycosaminoglycan-chitosan scaffold as a model for evaluation of parameters involved in skin regeneration.