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 Penn study identifies viral product that promotes immune defense against RSV
04.09.2015 | University of Pennsylvania

nachricht Columbia Engineering team develops targeted drug delivery to lung
03.09.2015 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

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: Hubble survey unlocks clues to star birth in neighboring galaxy

In a survey of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope images of 2,753 young, blue star clusters in the neighboring Andromeda galaxy (M31), astronomers have found that M31 and our own galaxy have a similar percentage of newborn stars based on mass.

By nailing down what percentage of stars have a particular mass within a cluster, or the Initial Mass Function (IMF), scientists can better interpret the light...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact Inverter for Uninterruptible Power Supplies

Silicon Carbide Components Enable Efficiency of 98.7 percent

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE have developed a highly compact and efficient inverter for use in uninterruptible power...

Im Focus: How wind sculpted Earth's largest dust deposit

China's Loess Plateau was formed by wind alternately depositing dust or removing dust over the last 2.6 million years, according to a new report from University of Arizona geoscientists. The study is the first to explain how the steep-fronted plateau formed.

China's Loess Plateau was formed by wind alternately depositing dust or removing dust over the last 2.6 million years, according to a new report from...

Im Focus: An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets

The leaves of the lotus flower, and other natural surfaces that repel water and dirt, have been the model for many types of engineered liquid-repelling surfaces. As slippery as these surfaces are, however, tiny water droplets still stick to them. Now, Penn State researchers have developed nano/micro-textured, highly slippery surfaces able to outperform these naturally inspired coatings, particularly when the water is a vapor or tiny droplets.

Enhancing the mobility of liquid droplets on rough surfaces could improve condensation heat transfer for power-plant heat exchangers, create more efficient...

Im Focus: Increasingly severe disturbances weaken world's temperate forests

Longer, more severe, and hotter droughts and a myriad of other threats, including diseases and more extensive and severe wildfires, are threatening to transform some of the world's temperate forests, a new study published in Science has found. Without informed management, some forests could convert to shrublands or grasslands within the coming decades.

"While we have been trying to manage for resilience of 20th century conditions, we realize now that we must prepare for transformations and attempt to ease...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Together - Work - Experience

03.09.2015 | Event News

Networking conference in Heidelberg for outstanding mathematicians and computer scientists

20.08.2015 | Event News

Scientists meet in Münster for the world’s largest Chitin und Chitosan Conference

20.08.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ion implanted, co-annealed, screen-printed 21% efficient n-PERT solar cells with a bifaciality >97%

04.09.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Casting of SiSiC: new perspectives for chemical and plant engineering

04.09.2015 | Machine Engineering

Extremely thin ceramic components made possible by extrusion

04.09.2015 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>