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.
Pratsinis, Harris; Tsagarakis, Stylianos; Zervolea, Irene; Stathakos, Dimitri; Thalassinos, Nikos; and Kletsas, Dimitris
"THE UNEXPECTED ANABOLIC PHENOTYPE AND EXTENDED LONGEVITY OF SKIN FIBROBLASTS AFTER CHRONIC GLUCOCORTICOID EXCESS,"
Dose-Response: An International Journal: Vol. 4
, Article 7.
Available at: http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dose_response/vol4/iss2/7