Positive and negative feedback regulation of the TGF-β1 explains two equilibrium states in skin aging

Haga M. et al.

During aging, skin homeostasis is essential for maintaining appearance, as well as biological defense of the human body. In this study, we identified thrombospondin-1 (THBS1) and fibromodulin (FMOD) as positive and negative regulators, respectively, of the TGF-β1-SMAD4 axis in human skin aging, based on in vitro and in vivo omics analyses and mathematical modeling. Using transcriptomic and epigenetic analyses of senescent dermal fibroblasts, TGF-β1 was identified as the key upstream regulator. Bifurcation analysis revealed a binary high-/low-TGF-β1 switch, with THBS1 as the main controller. Computational simulation of the TGF-β1 signaling pathway indicated that THBS1 expression was sensitively regulated, whereas FMOD was regulated robustly. Results of sensitivity analysis and validation showed that inhibition of SMAD4 complex formation was a promising method to control THBS1 production and senescence. Therefore, this study demonstrated the potential of combining data-driven target discovery with mathematical approaches to determine the mechanisms underlying skin aging.

Keywords: Cell biology; Dermatology; Mathematical biosciences; Omics; Systems biology.

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April, 2024


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