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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(8), 2254;

Autophagy in Human Skin Fibroblasts: Impact of Age

Department of Dermatology, Incheon St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, 222 Banpo-daero, Seocho-gu, Seoul 06591, Korea
Department of Medical Life Sciences, The Catholic University of Korea, 222 Banpo-daero, Seocho-gu, Seoul 06591, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 June 2018 / Revised: 26 July 2018 / Accepted: 27 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Skin Aging and Gene Expression)
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Autophagy is an intracellular stress response that is enhanced under starvation conditions, and also when the cellular components are damaged. Aging accompanies an increase in intracellular stress and has significant impact on the skin. Since dermal fibroblasts are a powerful indicator of skin aging, we compared the autophagic activity of human skin fibroblasts between the young and old. According to TEM analyses, the number of autophagosomes per 1 μm2 cytoplasmic area was similar between young and aged fibroblasts. The amount of LC3 (microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3)-II, a form associated with autophagic vacuolar membranes, was also similar between the groups from Western blot analysis. Although residual bodies were more common in aged dermal fibroblasts, LC3 turnover and p62 assay showed little difference in the rate of lysosomal proteolysis between the young and old. RNA-seq analysis revealed that the major autophagy-modulating genes (BECN1, MAP1LC3B, ATG5, ATG7, ULK1, PIK3C3, mTOR) were not differentially expressed with age. Our results suggest that the basal autophagic flux in aged dermal fibroblasts is largely comparable to that of young fibroblasts. However, with a higher speed and amount of waste production in aged cells, we postulate that such autophagic flux may not be sufficient in keeping the old cells “clean”, resulting in skin aging. Aging is a complex process and, as such, the relationship between autophagy and aging is not straightforward. That is to say, autophagy does not simply decline with age. Regardless of the controversies on autophagic activity with age, autophagy plays a crucial role in counteracting aging, and strategies aimed at its modulation should hold promise for the prevention of skin aging. View Full-Text
Keywords: autophagy; human skin fibroblasts; age; genetic analysis autophagy; human skin fibroblasts; age; genetic analysis

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Kim, H.S.; Park, S.-Y.; Moon, S.H.; Lee, J.D.; Kim, S. Autophagy in Human Skin Fibroblasts: Impact of Age. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 2254.

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