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Blocking Glucocorticoid Prevents Stress-Induced Skin Abnormalities

dermis are continuously proliferating to provide new cells, which then differentiate, and ultimately die, to form the stratum corneum.

Previous studies have shown that psychological stress disturbs this elegantly balanced system by decreasing epidermal cell proliferation and inhibiting differentiation. Additionally, permeability barrier function is impaired. The researchers hypothesized that the increase in glucocorticoids induced by psychological stress would cause these adverse effects on skin function.

Study with hairless mice

They tested their hypothesis by subjecting hairless mice to stress while either blocking the production of glucocorticoids or preventing them from acting on the body. The stress was created by placing the mice in small cages in constant light with a radio playing for 48 hours.

Before placing the mice in the stressful situation, the researchers treated one group of mice with RU 486, a substance that blocks the action of glucocorticoids.

A second group of mice received antalarmin, which blocks glucocorticoid production. A third group was subjected to the stress but received neither antalarmin nor RU 486. The fourth group, the control group, remained unstressed in ordinary cages and without the continuous light and sound to which the other groups were exposed.

Results confirm hypothesis

The stressed mice that received RU 486 and antalarmin showed significantly better skin function compared to the stressed mice that did not receive either treatment. The treated mice showed significantly better:

? proliferation
? differentiation
? permeability barrier function
? stratum corneum integrity
The experiment demonstrated the important role that glucocorticoids play in inducing the skin abnormalities brought on by psychological stress. While the researchers hope the study will lead to a way to treat people who suffer these s
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