Protective role of vitamin E preconditioning of human dermal fibroblasts against thermal stress in vitro

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Oxidative microenvironment of burnt skin restricts the outcome of cell based therapies of thermal skin injuries. The aim of this study was to precondition human dermal fibroblasts with an antioxidant such as vitamin E to improve their survival and therapeutic abilities in heat induced oxidative in vitro environment.

Main methods

Fibroblasts were treated with 100 μM vitamin E for 24 h at 37 °C followed by heat shock for 10 min at 51 °C in fresh serum free medium.

Key findings

Preconditioning with vitamin E reduced cell injury as demonstrated by decreased expression of annexin-V, cytochrome p450 (CYP450) mediated oxidative reactions, senescence and release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) accomplished by down-regulated expression of pro-apoptotic BAX gene. Vitamin E preconditioned cells exhibited remarkable improvement in cell viability, release of paracrine factors such as epidermal growth factor (EGF), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), stromal derived factor-1alpha (SDF-1α) and also showed significantly up-regulated levels of PCNA, VEGF, BCL-XL, FGF7, FGF23, FLNβ and Col7α genes presumably through activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K)/Akt pathway.


The results suggest that pretreatment of fibroblasts with vitamin E prior to transplantation in burnt skin speeds up the wound healing process by improving the antioxidant scavenging responses in oxidative environment of transplanted burn wounds.

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