Glucocorticoids induce senescence in primary human tenocytes by inhibition of sirtuin 1 and activation of the p53/p21 pathway: in vivo and in vitro evidence.
Poulsen RC., Watts AC., Murphy RJ., Snelling SJ., Carr AJ., Hulley PA.
UNLABELLED: Cellular senescence is an irreversible side effect of some pharmaceuticals which can contribute to tissue degeneration. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether pharmaceutical glucocorticoids induce senescence in tenocytes. METHODS: Features of senescence (β-galactosidase activity at pH 6 (SA-β-gal) and active mammalian/mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) in cell cycle arrest) as well as the activity of the two main pathways leading to cell senescence were examined in glucocorticoid-treated primary human tenocytes. Evidence of senescence-inducing pathway induction in vivo was obtained using immunohistochemistry on tendon biopsy specimens taken before and 7 weeks after subacromial Depo-Medrone injection. RESULTS: Dexamethasone treatment of tenocytes resulted in an increased percentage of SA-βgal-positive cells. Levels of phosphorylated p70S6K did not decrease with glucocorticoid treatment indicating mTOR remained active. Increased levels of acetylated p53 as well as increased RNA levels of its pro-senescence effector p21 were evident in dexamethasone-treated tenocytes. Levels of the p53 deacetylase sirtuin 1 were lower in dexamethasone-treated cells compared with controls. Knockdown of p53 or inhibition of p53 activity prevented dexamethasone-induced senescence. Activation of sirtuin 1 either by exogenous overexpression or by treatment with resveratrol or low glucose prevented dexamethasone-induced senescence. Immunohistochemical analysis of tendon biopsies taken before and after glucocorticoid injection revealed a significant increase in the percentage of p53-positive cells (p=0.03). The percentage of p21-positive cells also tended to be higher post-injection (p=0.06) suggesting glucocorticoids activate the p53/p21 senescence-inducing pathway in vivo as well as in vitro. CONCLUSION: As cell senescence is irreversible in vivo, glucocorticoid-induced senescence may result in long-term degenerative changes in tendon tissue.