Biphasic Dose-Response and Hormetic Effects of Stress Hormone Hydrocortisone on Telomerase-Immortalised Human Bone Marrow Stem Cells in vitro

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Although high levels of stress hormones are associated with well-known negative health outcomes, their low levels can have health-promoting effects by virtue of the phenomenon of mild stress-induced hormesis. We have studied the effects of a wide range (between 100 nM and 150 μM) of hydrocortisone (HC) on human bone marrow stem cells in vitro. Telomerase-immortalized human mesenchymal stem cells (hTERT-MSC) were exposed to various doses of HC for different durations (1 to 6 days), and analysed for survival and mitochondrial metabolic activity by MTT assay, for cell migratory ability by a wound-healing assay, and for osteoblastic and adipogenic differentiation abilities in vitro. Our findings indicate that hTERT-MSC cells exposed to HC resulted in a biphasic hormetic dose-response in some measures but not all. Whereas the mitochondrial and metabolic MTT activity assay clearly showed low-level-stimulatory (between 01. and 1 µM) and high-level-inhibitory effects (from about 10 µM onwards), the cytostatic and differentiation-inducing effects were mostly linear at concentrations between 1 and 100 µM. Further long-term studies will elucidate whether chronic or intermittent exposure of human cells to stress hormones has physiologically beneficial hormetic effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 171677349