The Secretome of Aged Fibroblasts Promotes EMT-Like Phenotype in Primary Keratinocytes from Elderly Donors through BDNF-TrkB Axis

Lavinia Tinaburri, Carola Valente, Massimo Teson, Ylenia Aura Minafò, Sonia Cordisco, Liliana Guerra, Elena Dellambra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Age-related changes in the dermis can play a primary role in tumor initiation promoting the unrestrained proliferation of precancerous keratinocytes (KCs) through cytokines and GF secretion. We found a high percentage of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition–like colonies raising in primary human KC cultures from old subjects after treatment with aged fibroblast supernatants (SPNs). Continuous extracellular signals were required for maintaining these changes. Conversely, the secretome did not induce epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition–like colonies in KCs from young subjects. SPN-treated aged KCs displayed the activation of pathways involved in the disjunction of cell‒cell adhesion, extracellular matrix remodeling, manifestation of a mesenchymal phenotype, and dedifferentiation programs. Moreover, they recovered proliferation and clonogenic ability and showed enhanced migration. We identified an age-related increase of the BDNF secretion from fibroblasts as well as of the expression of its receptor TrkB in KCs. BDNF treatment of aged KCs induced TrkB phosphorylation and recapitulated the modifications promoted by aged fibroblast SPN. Furthermore, the treatment with a specific antibody against BDNF or a TrkB antagonist inhibited the paracrine signaling preventing SPN-mediated morphological and molecular changes. Finally, BDNF induced signs of matrix invasion in a three-dimensional organotypic model. Therefore, we demonstrate that aged fibroblast SPN promotes phenotypic plasticity in KCs from the elderly through BDNF–TrkB axis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Early online dateSep 12 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Sep 12 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology

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