Short intervals of psychological stress beneficiary for healing skin
A new study done on mice showed that short intervals of acute psychological stress helped them cope with three different types of skin irritations.
Researchers from University of California, San Francisco, found that healing was brought about by the anti-inflammatory effects of glucocorticoids, the steroid hormones, which are produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress.
Peter Elias, senior investigator, said that under chronic stress, the same naturally-occurring steroids damaged the protective functions of normal skin and inhibited wound healing, but during shorter intervals of stress, they were beneficial for inflammatory disorders and acute injury in both mice and humans.
Elias noted that other researchers have recently proposed that psychological stress had a potential role in promoting healing, but that work had focused on the immune system rather than glucocorticoids as the responsible, beneficial mediator.
According to Elias, the study provided a clue to an evolutionary puzzle: why, over millions of years, humans have preserved the tendency to produce steroids under stress.
The study is published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
(Posted on 10-08-2014)