The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of ethanol on collagen biosynthesis in cultured human skin fibroblasts, and the role of hyaluronic acid (HA) in this process. Regarding the mechanism of ethanol action on human skin fibroblasts we investigated: expression of β 1 integrin and insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-IR), signaling pathway protein expression: mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), protein kinase B (Akt), nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) transcription factor, cytotoxicity assay and apoptosis, metalloproteinase activity, as well as the influence of HA on these processes.
Collagen biosynthesis, activity of prolidase, DNA biosynthesis, and cytotoxicity were measured in confluent human skin fibroblast cultures that have been treated with 25, 50, and 100 mM ethanol and with ethanol and 500 µg/mL HA. Western blot analysis and zymography were performed to evaluate expression of collagen type I, β 1 integrin receptor, IGF-IR, NF-κB protein, phospho-Akt protein, kinase MAPK, caspase 9 activity, and matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-9 and MMP-2).
Ethanol in a dose-dependent manner lead to the impairment of collagen biosynthesis in fibroblast cultures through decreasing prolidase activity and expression of β 1 integrin and IGF-IR. This was accompanied by an increased cytotoxicity, apoptosis and lowered expression of the signaling pathway proteins induced by β 1 integrin and IGF-IR, that is, MAPK (ERK 1/2) kinases. The lowered amount of synthesized collagen and prolidase activity disturbance may also be due to the activation of NF-κB transcription factor, which inhibits collagen gene expression. It suggests that the decrease in fibroblast collagen production may be caused by the disturbance in its biosynthesis but not degradation. The application of HA has a protective effect on disturbances caused by the examined substances. It seems that regulatory mechanism of ethanol-induced collagen aberration take place at the level of collagen biosynthesis, since no effect of ethanol and HA was found on process of collagen degradation by MMP-2 and MMP-9.
This study provides evidence that ethanol impairs collagen metabolism in human skin fibroblasts, leading to a significant decrease in the amount of produced protein. This mechanism probably is due to downregulation of prolidase activity, expression of β 1 integrin and IGF-IR receptors, and the signaling pathway proteins induced by these receptors.