N-succinyl-s-farnesyl-L-cysteine (SFC): A novel isoprenylcysteine analog with in vitro anti-inflammatory activity and clinical skin protecting properties

José R. Fernández, Karl Rouzard, Corey Fitzgerald, Jason Healy, Masanori Tamura, Michael Voronkov, Jeffry B. Stock, Maxwell Stock, Eduardo Pérez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Over the past 15 years, small molecule isoprenylcysteine (IPC) analogs have been identified as a potential new class of topical anti-inflammatories. Clinical studies have demonstrated that IPCs are both safe and effective in promoting healthy skin when applied topically. This work aims to demonstrate N-Succinyl-S-farnesyl-L-cysteine (SFC) as a novel IPC molecule that provides a broad spectrum of benefits for skin. Human promyelocytic cell line HL-60, human dermal microvascular endothelial cells (HDMECs), human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs), and normal human epidermal keratinocytes (NHEKs) were exposed in culture to various inducers to trigger reactive oxygen species, cytokines, or collagenase production. A 49-subject randomized double-blind, vehicle-controlled, split face trial was performed with 1% SFC gel, or 5% niacinamide and vehicle applied for 12 weeks to evaluate anti-wrinkle and anti-aging endpoints. We demonstrated that SFC inhibited GPCR and TLR-induced pro-inflammatory cytokine release in NHEKs and HDMECs from several inflammatory inducers such as UVB, chemicals, cathelicidin, and bacteria. SFC successfully reduced GPCR-induced oxidation in differentiated neutrophils. Moreover, photoaging studies showed that SFC reduced UVA-induced collagenase (pro-MMP-1) production in HDFs. Clinical assessment of 1% SFC gel demonstrated improvement above the vehicle for wrinkle reduction, hydration, texture, and overall appearance of skin. N-Succinyl-S-farnesyl-L-cysteine (SFC) is a novel anti-inflammatory small molecule and is the first farnesyl-cysteine IPC shown to clinically improve appearance and signs of aging, while also having the potential to ameliorate inflammatory skin disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Aging
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Dermatology


  • Anti-aging
  • Cosmetics
  • G-protein coupled receptor
  • Isoprenylcysteine
  • Toll-like receptor


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