Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Acute psychological stress promotes skin healing in mice

07.08.2014

Naturally-occurring steroids, which damage skin during prolonged stress, can be beneficial over shorter periods, say UCSF researchers

Brief, acute psychological stress promoted healing in mouse models of three different types of skin irritations, in a study led by UC San Francisco researchers.

The scientists found that healing was brought about by the anti-inflammatory effects of glucocorticoids – steroid hormones – produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress.

"Under chronic stress, these same naturally-occurring steroids damage the protective functions of normal skin and inhibit wound healing, but during shorter intervals of stress, they are beneficial for inflammatory disorders and acute injury in both mice and humans," said senior investigator Peter Elias, MD, a UCSF professor of dermatology based at the San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC).

"We believe that our findings explain why this otherwise harmful component of the stress response has been preserved during human evolution," he said.

The study was published online in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology on August 7, 2014, in advance of print publication in the journal.

The scientists studied mouse models of three types of common skin irritations: irritant contact dermatitis, caused by exposure to an irritant such as a soap or solvent; acute allergic contact dermatitis, of the sort caused by poison ivy or poison oak; and atopic dermatitis, or eczema.

After exposure to irritants on a small patch of skin on one ear, one group of mice was returned to its regular cages, while another group was put in a stressful situation – being placed in very small enclosures for 18 hours a day over the course of four days.

The researchers found that the stressed mice showed significantly reduced inflammation and faster healing in all three types of skin irritation.

When stressed mice were simultaneously given mifepristone, which blocks steroid action, all of the healing benefits of stress disappeared. "This demonstrated the central role of internal steroids in providing these benefits," said Elias.

He noted that other researchers have recently proposed that psychological stress has a potential role in promoting healing, "but that work has focused on the immune system rather than glucocorticoids as the responsible, beneficial mediator."

According to Elias, the study provides a clue to an evolutionary puzzle: why, over millions of years, humans have preserved the tendency to produce steroids under stress. Previous research by Elias's laboratory and others has demonstrated that prolonged exposure to steroids harms both the structure and function of skin and other organs.

"Our ancestors did not have an arsenal of pharmaceutical steroids available to treat acute illnesses or injuries," Elias observed. "This safe, effective internal anti-inflammatory system provides just the correct amount of steroids to promote healing, over a time interval that is too short to cause harm."

Elias emphasized that the study did not look at the implications for human medical treatments. However, he contrasted the "substantial benefits" seen from modest increases in glucocorticoid levels brought on by short-term stress with the "adverse effects that we see all too commonly" with steroid therapy. Elias speculated that those negative effects could be the result of "overly aggressive treatment – too high doses, and perhaps for unnecessarily prolonged treatment intervals."

He said that while his research team did not study other kinds of inflammatory disorders, "the same benefits of psychological stress should accrue in any acute illness or injury."

###

Co-authors of the study are Mao-Qiang Man, MD, of SFVAMC and UCSF; Juan-Luis Santiago, MD, of SFVAMC, UCSF, and Hospital General Universitario del Ciudad Real, Spain; Melanie Hupe of SFVAMC and UCSF; Gemma Martin-Ezquerra, MD, of Hospital del Mar-IMIM, Barcelona, Spain; Jong-Kyum Youm, PhD, and Tammy Zhai of SFVAMC and UCSF; Carles Trullas, PhD, of ISDIN, Barcelona; and Kenneth R. Feingold, MD, of SFVAMC and UCSF.

The study was funded by the SFVAMC and the National Institutes of Health.

UCSF is the nation's leading university exclusively focused on health. Now celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding as a medical college, UCSF is dedicated to transforming health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with world-renowned programs in the biological sciences, a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and two top-tier hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco. Please visit http://www.ucsf.edu.

Jeffrey Norris | Eurek Alert!

Further reports about: SFVAMC UCSF anti-inflammatory exposure glucocorticoids skin steroids

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>