Activation of Epidermal Toll-Like Receptor 2 Enhances Tight Junction Function: Implications for Atopic Dermatitis and Skin Barrier Repair

1] Department of Dermatology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, USA [2] Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, USA.
Journal of Investigative Dermatology (Impact Factor: 6.37). 12/2012; 133(4). DOI: 10.1038/jid.2012.437
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Atopic dermatitis (AD) is characterized by epidermal tight junction (TJ) defects and a propensity for Staphylococcus aureus skin infections. S. aureus is sensed by many pattern recognition receptors, including Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2). We hypothesized that an effective innate immune response will include skin barrier repair, and that this response is impaired in AD subjects. S. aureus-derived peptidoglycan (PGN) and synthetic TLR2 agonists enhanced TJ barrier and increased expression of TJ proteins, claudin-1 (CLDN1), claudin-23 (CLDN23), occludin, and Zonulae occludens 1 (ZO-1) in primary human keratinocytes. A TLR2 agonist enhanced skin barrier recovery in human epidermis wounded by tape stripping. Tlr2(-/-) mice had a delayed and incomplete barrier recovery following tape stripping. AD subjects had reduced epidermal TLR2 expression as compared with nonatopic subjects, which inversely correlated (r=-0.654, P=0.0004) with transepidermal water loss (TEWL). These observations indicate that TLR2 activation enhances skin barrier in murine and human skin and is an important part of a wound repair response. Reduced epidermal TLR2 expression observed in AD patients may have a role in their incompetent skin barrier.Journal of Investigative Dermatology advance online publication, 6 December 2012; doi:10.1038/jid.2012.437.

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