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Skin Disorders Linked to Stress

Posted: December 7, 2006

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Previous research showed that psychological stress decreases cell growth and inhibits differentiation into skin cells.

In the new study, scientists subjected hairless mice to stress while either blocking the production of glucocorticoids or blocking the action of the hormone. Some mice weren't treated at all. The stress was created by placing the mice in small cages in constant light with a radio playing for 48 hours.

The two groups of mice treated with a type of glucocorticoid-blocker showed much better skin function compared with untreated and stressed mice.

While the researchers hope the study will lead to a way to treat people who suffer these skin conditions, there is still a long way to go. Besides needing to test the effect in people, blocking glucocorticoids could have negative side effects that are worse than exacerbations of skin disorders.

The research is detailed in the December issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.