The Unexpected Anabolic Phenotype and Extended Longevity of Skin Fibroblasts after Chronic Glucocorticoid Excess

Pratsinis, Harris; Zervolea, Irene; Stathakos, Dimitri; Kletsas, Dimitris; Tsagarakis, Stylianos; Thalassinos, Nikos
April 2006
Dose-Response;2006, Vol. 4 Issue 2, p133
Academic Journal
Intense stress can challenge tissue homeostasis and accelerate the ageing process. However, several lines of evidence indicate that repeated mild stresses can have beneficial and even life-prolonging effects. Hypersecretion of glucocorticoids (GC) represents the major hormonal response to stress. Besides its life-sustaining role, GC excess, usually due to several side-effects that promote a "catabolic" phenotype, can be detrimental for several tissues. Cushing's syndrome patients are characterized by chronic endogenous GC excess and consequently at the time of diagnosis they have an atrophic elderly-like skin. Interestingly, when Cushing's syndrome fibroblasts were removed from the high-GC milieu in vivo and cultured in vitro under standard conditions they express an "anabolic" phenotype, i.e. they restore their ability for collagen synthesis, they secrete reduced levels of metalloproteases (MMP-1 and MMP-2) and have an increased proliferative capacity and contractility. Furthermore, these cells exhibit a significant extension of their proliferative lifespan, while they respond better to exogenous stress by producing significantly higher levels of heat-shock protein-70 (HSP70). These results imply that long-term hypercortisolism in vivo can have beneficial consequences on fibroblast physiology in vitro.


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