The research objective: Keratinocytes mediate pleasant and soft touch via piezo1 signaling, by detecting and encoding tactile information to sensory neurons. Pleasant touch has been shown to trigger oxytocin release, a molecule linked to increased well-being, and anti-stress effect. In this study, we investigated the role of piezo1 in skin barrier function, and the relationship with the oxytocinergic pathway.
Experimental methods: A Jasminum grandiflorum extract was evaluated for its ability to modulate piezo1. Expression of piezo1, E-cadherin, 11β-HSD1, oxytocin and its receptor OXTR were monitored by immunodetection, ELISA and qPCR. Antagonist Dooku1 was used for inhibition of piezo1 receptor.
Main observations: Our results showed that piezo1 and OXTR expression decreased with age. Moreover, inhibition of piezo1 in ex vivo skin, significantly compromised the integrity of cellular junctions, and the skin oxytocinergic pathway. The application of a Jasminum extract was observed to preserve the expression of piezo1, oxytocin and its receptor OXTR. Finally, application of the botanical extract, was associated with 11β-HSD1 decrease in keratinocytes.
Conclusions: These results highlighted the importance of maintaining piezo1 receptor in skin, to preserve the mechanical communication between cells and their environment. In this work, we provide knowledge on existing bond between touch and the oxytocinergic pathway.