Cell-surface changes accompanying aging in human diploid fibroblasts: effects of tissue, donor age and genotype

Mech Ageing Dev. 1980 Jul;13(3):297-307. doi: 10.1016/0047-6374(80)90042-1.


The generality of age-related changes in concanavalin A (Con A)-mediated red blood cell (RBC) adsorption to human diploid fibroblasts was investigated on fibroblast-like cells from fetal lung, heart, liver, skin and muscle tissues. All the cells examined showed the continuous increase from early passages in RBC adsorption with the RBC coating method (in which Con A-coated RBCs are adsorbed to fibroblasts) and the incraease only at phase III with the fibroblast coating method (in which RBCs are adsorbed to Con A-coated fibroblasts). All of the four strains of lung fibroblasts gave nearly the same extent of the age-related change in RBC adsorption, when expressed as a function of percentage life span consumed, indicating that the change in RBC adsorption is independent of genetic heterogeneity and conditions of primary culture. Liver and heart fibroblasts also gave results similar to those of lung fibroblasts. However, skin and muscle fibroblasts were lower in their RBC adsorption capacity throughout the life span. The continuous age-related increase in RBC adsorption to these cells could be sensitized by using glutaraldehyde-prefixed RBCs, trypsinized RBCs or phytohemagglutinin P in place of Con A. The relevance of the phenotype of in vitro aging revealed by RBC adsorption to in vivo aging was also demonstrated on skin fibroblasts from different ages of donors using glutaraldehyde-prefixed RBCs. In addition, fibroblasts from patients with Werner's syndrome, an hereditary disease manifested by early and widespread degenerative changes, showed senescent phenotype in RBC adsorption even at early passages.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aging*
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Survival
  • Diploidy
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fetus / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Liver / cytology
  • Lung / cytology
  • Muscles / cytology
  • Myocardium / cytology
  • Skin / cytology