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Dimethylaminoethanol Affects the Viability of Human Cultured Fibroblasts

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An Erratum to this article was published on 03 January 2008



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.

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Correspondence to Alfredo Gragnani M.D., Ph.D..

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Gragnani, A., Giannoccaro, F.B., Sobral, C.S. et al. Dimethylaminoethanol Affects the Viability of Human Cultured Fibroblasts. Aesth Plast Surg 31, 711–718 (2007).

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