Bovine Colostrum, Telomeres, and Skin Aging

May 2021 | Volume 20 | Issue 5 | Original Article | 538 | Copyright © May 2021

Published online May 1, 2021

Reena Jogi MDa, Mark J. Tager MDb, Diego Perez c, Menelaos Tsapekos c

aVillage Dermatology, Houston, TX
bChangeWell Inc., San Diego, CA
cLife Length Laboratories, Madrid, Spain

Background: Applied topically, growth factors, cytokines, and other components in bovine colostrum are known to affect collagen biosynthesis, thus offering promise as a therapeutic modality in wound healing, delay in skin aging, and skin rejuvenation.
Objective: To demonstrate the protective effect that liposomal bovine colostrum exerts on skin aging using telomere length as an aging biomarker.
Methods: Human fibroblasts were cultured for 8 weeks with colostrum at three concentrations (0.125%, 0.25%, 0.50%). Cells were cultured and assayed both under standard conditions, as well as with H2O2 added as an agent of oxidative stress. Alterations in proliferation rates, telomere lengths, and telomere shortening rates (TSRs) were determined in each treatment group and compared.
Results: Colostrum increased the proliferation rate of the fibroblast control cells and the addition of H2O(without colostrum) decreased the proliferation rates of the fibroblast control cells. Under standard culture conditions, telomeres shortened progressively over 8 weeks and the addition of colostrum reduced the rate of telomere shortening. Under oxidative stress conditions (H2O2 – induced) the TSR increased; however, treatment with colostrum appeared to attenuate this increase.
Conclusions: Under normal culture conditions and after both 4 weeks and 8 weeks of treatment, liposomal bovine colostrum appears to exert a protective effect on telomere length erosion. Under culture conditions of oxidative stress and after 8 weeks of treatment, colostrum appears to exert a protective effect on telomere length erosion. These results suggest that topical treatment of the liposomal bovine colostrum formulation would enhance skin health as the skin ages.

J Drugs Dermatol. 20(5):538-545. doi:10.36849/JDD.5851


As skin ages, fine lines, deep wrinkles, dryness, and uneven texture begin to appear. Sun exposure, pollution, and unhealthy lifestyle choices result in chronic inflammation, degradation of collagen, and other manifestations of aging skin. These changes are associated with delayed wound repair and deregulation of the immune response, known as immunosenescence. At the same time, the skin’s protective, restorative, and mechanical abilities become slower with aging, resulting in more inflammation, collagen denaturation, and loss of skin firmness.1-4 Natural growth factors and the number and activity of fibroblasts are also reduced.5

Applied topically, growth factors (eg, platelet-derived, epidermal, transforming) and cytokines (eg, interleukins), are known to affect collagen biosynthesis, thus offering promise as therapeutic modalities in wound healing and skin rejuvenation.2,3 Such components, along with proteins (eg, immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, casein), carbohydrates, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, are abundantly present in bovine colostrum, the initial milk produced by cows to meet the nutritional needs of the calf as well as provide biochemical and biological constituents to help the newborn survive and develop.6,7

As cells age, telomeres shorten via a process related to tissue damage.3 Telomeres are chromosomal “end caps” that protect eukaryotic chromosomes from degradation8,9 while also permitting the complete replication of linear DNA molecules.10 Human telomeres are long stretches of tandem repeats made up of TTAGGG.11

Telomere length is regulated by telomerase, a ribonucleoprotein with an RNA template that includes a sequence complementary to the telomere repeat unit. Telomerase is expressed in germ cells and in stem/progenitor cells while somatic cells have little or no telomerase activation, leading to a progressive loss of telomeres with each cell division.12,13

The primary objective of the present study was to determine the telomere length variables and cellular proliferation rates in cultures of adult primary fibroblast cells treated with bovine colostrum.