Content » Vol 67, Issue 2

Modulation of collagen metabolism in cultured human skin fibroblasts by dexamethasone: correlation with glucocorticoid receptor density

Oikarinen A, Oikarinen H, Tan EM, Uitto J.
DOI: 10.2340/0001555567106115


Connective tissue metabolism was studied in detail in three human skin fibroblast lines, demonstrating low, medium, or high levels of glucocorticoid receptor densities. In the cell lines with low and medium receptor density, dexamethasone, in the range of 10(-5)-10(-9) M, had no effect on collagen production, using short incubation time periods and high (20%) fetal calf serum concentration, while in the cells with highest receptor density, a slight stimulation of collagen synthesis was noted in the concentration range 10(-6)-10(-9) M. In the presence of low concentration (0.5%) of serum, dexamethasone markedly inhibited collagen production. The production of collagenase, assayed by degradation of 3H-labelled type I collagen substrate with a brief trypsin activation of the enzyme, was reduced in a dose dependent manner in all 3 cell lines, the inhibition with 10(-5) dexamethasone being up to 56% of the control. Similarly, the activity of an elastase-like neutral protease was decreased in the presence of dexamethasone. Thus the results indicate that glucocorticoids may have profound effects on the degradation of connective tissue components, while the effects on collagen synthesis may be more variable depending on the environmental milieu.


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