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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1998 Mar 27;244(3):912-6.

Growth properties and growth factor responsiveness in skin fibroblasts from centenarians.

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Department of Neurological and Psychiatric Sciences, University of Florence, Italy.


Human fibroblast cultures, which have a finite replicative lifespan in vitro, are the most widely used model for the study of senescence at the cellular level. An inverse relationship between replicative capability and donor age has been reported in human fibroblast strains. We studied the growth capacity of fibroblast primary cultures derived from people whose lifespan was as closer as possible to the expected maximum human lifespan, i.e. people over one hundred. Our data suggest that outgrowth of fibroblasts from biopsies, growth kinetics at different population doubling levels, capability to respond to a classical mitogenic stimulus (such as 20% serum) and a variety of growth factors, were remarkably similar in fibroblasts from centenarians and young controls. On the whole, our data challenge the tenet of a simple and strict relationship between in vivo aging and in vitro proliferative capability of human fibroblasts, at least at the individual level.

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