Short exposure to cold atmospheric plasma induces senescence in human skin fibroblasts and adipose mesenchymal stromal cells

Sci Rep. 2019 Jun 17;9(1):8671. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45191-2.


Cold Atmospheric Plasma (CAP) is a novel promising tool developed in several biomedical applications such as cutaneous wound healing or skin cancer. Nevertheless, in vitro studies are lacking regarding to CAP effects on cellular actors involved in healthy skin healing and regarding to the mechanism of action. In this study, we investigated the effect of a 3 minutes exposure to CAP-Helium on human dermal fibroblasts and Adipose-derived Stromal Cells (ASC) obtained from the same tissue sample. We observed that CAP treatment did not induce cell death but lead to proliferation arrest with an increase in p53/p21 and DNA damages. Interestingly we showed that CAP treated dermal fibroblasts and ASC developed a senescence phenotype with p16 expression, characteristic morphological changes, Senescence-Associated β-galactosidase expression and the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines defined as the Senescence-Associated Secretory Phenotype (SASP). Moreover this senescence phenotype is associated with a glycolytic switch and an increase in mitochondria content. Despite this senescence phenotype, cells kept in vitro functional properties like differentiation potential and immunomodulatory effects. To conclude, we demonstrated that two main skin cellular actors are resistant to cell death but develop a senescence phenotype while maintaining some functional characteristics after 3 minutes of CAP-Helium treatment in vitro.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects*
  • Cell Cycle / genetics
  • Cellular Senescence / drug effects*
  • Cellular Senescence / genetics
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / genetics
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / metabolism
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / genetics
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Helium / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / drug effects*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Plasma Gases / pharmacology*
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Signal Transduction
  • Skin / cytology
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism


  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21
  • P16 protein, human
  • Plasma Gases
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Helium