Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

, Volume 31, Issue 6, pp 711–718 | Cite as

Dimethylaminoethanol Affects the Viability of Human Cultured Fibroblasts

  • Alfredo Gragnani
  • Fabiana Bocci Giannoccaro
  • Christiane S. Sobral
  • Jeronimo P. França
  • Lydia Masako Ferreira



In clinical practice, dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) has been used in the fight against wrinkles and flaccidity in the cervicofacial region. The firming action of DMAE is explained by the fact that its molecule, considered to be a precursor of acetylcholine, alters muscle contraction. However, no experimental studies have confirmed this theory. Because the actual mechanism of DMAE action was not defined and there were no references in the literature regarding its direct action on fibroblasts, this study was performed to evaluate the direct action of DMAE on cultured human fibroblasts.


Human fibroblasts obtained from discarded fragments of total skin from patients undergoing plastic or reconstructive surgical procedures performed within the Plastic Surgery Division at the Federal University of São Paulo were used for this study. The explant technique was used. The culture medium was supplemented with different concentrations of DMAE on the fourth cell passage, and the cell proliferation rate, cytosolic calcium levels, and cell cycle were evaluated. Statistical analysis was performed using analysis of variance (ANOVA) followed by a Newman-Keuls test for multiple comparisons.


A decrease in fibroblast proliferation was associated with an increase in DMAE concentration. A longer treatment time with trypsin was required for the groups treated with DMAE in a dose-dependent manner. In the presence of DMAE, cytosolic calcium increased in a dose-dependent manner. Apoptosis also increased in groups treated with DMAE.


Dimethylaminoethanol reduced the proliferation of fibroblasts, increased cytosolic calcium, and changed the cell cycle, causing an increase in apoptosis in cultured human fibroblasts.


Cell culture Dimethylaminoethanol Fibroblasts Viability 


  1. 1.
    Babiychuk EB, Babiychuk VS, Danilova VM, Tregubov VS, Sagach VF, Draeger A: Stress fibers, a Ca2+ independent store for annexins? Biochim Biophys Acta 1600:154–161, 2002PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Buchli R, Ndoye A, Rodriguez JG, Zia S, Webber RJ, Grando SA: Human skin fibroblasts express m2, m4, and m5 subtypes of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. J Cell Biochem 74:264–277, 1999CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Chan MW, El Sayegh TY, Arora PD, Laschinger CA, Overall CM, Morrison C, McCulloch CA: Regulation of intercellular adhesion strength in fibroblasts. J Biol Chem 279:41047–41057, 2004CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Fink C, Morgan F, Loew LM: Intracellular fluorescent probe concentrations by confocal microscopy. Biophys J 1648–1658, 1998Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Grando SA, Horton RM, Mauro TM, Kist DA, Lee TX, Dahl MV: Activation of keratinocyte nicotinic cholinergic receptors stimulates calcium influx and enhances cell differentiation. J Invest Dermatol 107:412–418, 1996CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Grando SA, Kist DA, Qi M, Dahl MV: Human keratinocytes synthesize, secrete, and degrade acetylcholine. J Invest Dermatol 101:32–36, 1993CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Harris MINC: Pele: Estrutura, propriedades e envelhecimento. Editora Senac: São Paulo, 2003Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Keira SM, Ferreira LM, Gragnani A, Duarte IS, Santos IAN: Experimental model for fibroblast culture. Acta Cir Bras 19(Suppl.1):11–16, 2004Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kiss Z, Crilly KS, Anderson WB: Protein kinase C inhibitors enhance the synergistic mitogenic effects of ethanolamine analogues and insulin in NIH 3T3 fibroblasts. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 220:125–130, 1996CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kohyama T, Wyatt TA, Liu X, Wen FQ, Kobayashi T, Fang Q, Kim HJ, Rennard SI: PGD(2) modulates fibroblast-mediated native collagen gel contraction. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 27:375–381, 2002PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Nagy I, Floyd RA: Electron spin resonance spectroscopic demonstration of the hydroxyl free radical scavenger properties of dimethylaminoethanol in spin trapping experiments confirming the molecular basis for the biological effects of centrophenoxine. Arch Gerontol Geriatr 3:297–310, 1984CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Nicoletti I, Migliorati G, Pagliacci MC, Grignani F, Riccardi C: A rapid and simple method for measuring thymocyte apoptosis by propidium iodide staining and flow cytometry. J Immunol Methods 139:271–279, 1991CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Rang HP, Dale MM: Farmacologia. 4ª edição Guanabara Koogan, Ritter JM, Rio de Janeiro RJ, 2001Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Shaheen FA, Souqiyyeh MZ, Abdullah A: Strategies and obstacles in an organ donation program in developing countries: Saudi Arabian experience. Transplant Proc 32:1470–1472, 2000CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Yap AS, Brieher WM, Gumbiner BM: Molecular and functional analysis of cadherin-based adherens junctions. Rev Cell Dev Biol 13:119–146, 1997CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alfredo Gragnani
    • 1
  • Fabiana Bocci Giannoccaro
    • 1
  • Christiane S. Sobral
    • 1
  • Jeronimo P. França
    • 1
  • Lydia Masako Ferreira
    • 1
  1. 1.Plastic Surgery Division of Federal University of São Paulo, Rua Pedro de ToledoSão PauloBrazil

Personalised recommendations