Journal of Investigative Dermatology

Published by Nature Publishing Group
Online ISSN: 1523-1747
Print ISSN: 0022-202X
Publications
The influence of treatment duration, vehicle, and time of day of application on topical 0.05% betamethasone dipropionate uptake into human stratum corneum and the resulting skin-blanching response was investigated in human subjects. Drug uptake into stratum corneum and the resulting skin color changes measured with a chromameter demonstrate an equilibrium delay. Maximal drug uptake occurred at 2 h, whereas maximal skin color changes occurred 6 h after a single application. Extent of decreased skin color was dependent on vehicle, treatment duration, and time of day of application. Time of maximal decreased skin color occurred at midnight independent of vehicle, treatment duration, or time of day of application. This time of maximal drug activity coincides with the well-known time period of lowest circulating cortisol concentrations (2000-0400 h). Application of a single 2- or 6-h dose of the 0.05% cream at 1600 h produced more extensive and prolonged changes in skin color over 24 h than a 0900-h application in the same subject. These data demonstrate that the extent and duration of topical corticosteroid activity in human skin is influenced by vehicle, treatment duration, and time of day of application. The prolonged changes in skin color measured with a single dose applied at 1600 h suggest that a once-a-day dosing regimen in the late afternoon may be sufficient for dermatologic therapy. Elucidation of these circadian responses with topical corticosteroids may provide a rational basis for the future re-evaluation of the appropriate therapeutic regimen with this class of drugs in dermatologic medicine.
 
The systemic exposure to tacrolimus after first and repeated application of 0.1% tacrolimus ointment was investigated in 32 adults with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis. Patients were allocated to treatment groups according to the size of the affected area to be treated: Group 1</=3000 cm(2) (N=11); Group 2>3000 cm(2)</=6000 cm(2) (N=12); Group 3>6000 cm(2)</=10,000 cm(2) (N=9). Ointment was applied twice daily for 13 d and once daily on Day 14; the size of application area remained the same irrespective of healing. Blood samples were collected on Days 1 (first application), 4, and 14 (last application) and analyzed by a validated HPLC-MS/MS method. Systemic exposure to tacrolimus was generally low with 96% of blood samples assayed containing concentrations below 1 ng per mL and 23% of samples below the lower limit of quantification (0.025 ng per mL). Peak concentrations after first ointment application were </=2.8 ng per mL, and the mean area under the concentration-time curve between 0 and 12 h using the trapezoidal rule (AUC(0-12)) values were 1.1, 1.6, and 4.8 ng h per mL for Groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively. The corresponding mean values on Day 14 were similar indicating negligible systemic accumulation of tacrolimus after repeated ointment applications. Both the rate and extent of topical absorption decreased as the skin lesions healed.
 
Flow diagram of the study.Download Power Point slide (238 KB)
The risk of relapse after successful repigmentation in vitiligo is estimated to 40% within the first year. It has been shown in atopic dermatitis that continuous low-level use of topical corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors in previously affected skin can prevent new flares.We hypothesized that a twice-weekly application of 0.1% tacrolimus ointment might be effective for maintaining repigmentation in therapeutically repigmented lesions of vitiligo patients. After randomization, sixteen patients with 31 patches were assigned to the placebo group and 19 patients with 41 patches were assigned to the tacrolimus group. In the intention to treat analysis, 48.4% of lesions showed depigmentation in the placebo group whereas 26.8% did in the tacrolimus group (p=0.059). The intention to treat results did not remain significant after adjustment for within-patient clustering, OR 2.55; 95% CI [0.65-9.97] p=0.1765). The per protocol analysis (n=56), showed that 40% of lesions had some depigmentation in placebo group whereas only 9.7% did in tacrolimus group (p=0.0075). The per protocol results remained significant after adjustment for within-patient clustering: OR 6.22; CI 95% [1.48-26.12] p=0.0299. Our study shows that twice-weekly application of 0.1% tacrolimus ointment is effective in preventing the depigmentation of vitiligo patches that have been previously successfully repigmented.Journal of Investigative Dermatology accepted article preview online, 18 December 2014. doi:10.1038/jid.2014.527.
 
The morphologic and histochemical changes seen by electron microscopy after a single topical application of mercuric chloride 10.1% to the skin of subjects not sensitive to it were studied. Whereas signs of injury are not detectable clinically in subjects not sensitive to mercury, they can be detected at the ultrastructural level. The ultrastructure shows varying degrees of cell degeneration which becomes more pronounced the longer the exposure to mercuric chloride. After topical application of mercuric chloride the following was observed: 1) glycogen deposits appeared in cytoplasm of some Langerhans' cells: 2) lysosome-like bodies appeared in keratinocytes, Langerhans' cells and rarely in melanocytes; 3) electron-dense deposits were demonstrable in keratinocytes, Langerhans' cells and melanocytes after specimens were processed with glutaraldehyde, ammonium sulfide and osmium tetroxide; and 4) cells with features of both kerationcytes and Langerhans' cells appeared. Cells in different parts of each specimen showed various degrees of involvement. The findings reported here serve as a basis for comparison of changes seen in clinically reactive skin sites in allergic sensitivity or primary irritant reactions to mercuric chloride.
 
Inhibition of intracellular signaling in keloid fibroblast (KF) by both KU-0063794 and KU-0068650. (a) Differential expression of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and phosphor-mTOR (p-mTOR) (n=6). (b) Differential expression of mTOR signaling in KFs and extra-lesional fibroblasts (ELFs) using In-Cell Western Blotting (ICWB) (n=11). (c) ICWB average immunoreactivity from (b). (d) ICWB average immunoreactivity of KF (n=11) induced mTOR inhibitors, normalized to β-actin. (e) Both KU-0063794 and KU-0068650 inhibit mTORC1 and mTORC2 in primary KFs. Bar graphs represent the quantification of average protein expression in different treatments from three independent ICWB experiments (n=6). (f) Co-immunoprecipitation for mTOR with raptor and Rictor to assess TORC1 and TORC2 complex inhibition by both the compounds (n=11). The data presented here are the means±SEM of triplicate experiments performed. **P<0.05, *P0.01 indicate significant difference in the treated group compared with the DMSO control group. AKT, also known as protein kinase B (PKB); 4E-BP1, eukaryotic initiation factor 4 E-binding protein-1; GSK3β, glycogen synthase kinase-3; HIF-1α, hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha; IP, immunoprecipitation; MAPK, mitogen-activated protein kinase; p-MAPK, phosphorylated mitogen-activated protein kinase; Raptor, regulatory associated protein of mTOR; Rictor, rapamycin-insensitive companion of mTOR.Download Power Point slide (512 KB)
Role of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors on keloid cell viability/metabolic activity by water-soluble tetrazolium salt-1 (WST-1), cell adhesion, spreading, and proliferation by real-time cell analysis (RTCA) on microelectronic sensor arrays. (a) WST-1 assay was performed 24 hours post treatment with different mTOR inhibitors, for viability/metabolic activity (keloid fibroblast (KF): n=8). (b) WST-1 assay for extra-lesional fibroblasts (n=5). (c) Quantitative analysis of RTCA average cell index of KFs (n=9). Primary KFs were seeded on 96-well E-plate (1 × 104 cells per well) and cells were treated with different mTOR inhibitor concentrations. Cell index (CI) on RTCA was recorded every 15 minutes. **P<0.04, *P0.01 indicate significant difference compared with the DMSO control group. The data expressed are an average means±SEM from four independent experiments.Download Power Point slide (368 KB)
Differential effect of KU-0063794, KU-0068650, and Rapamycin on primary keloid fibroblast (KF) and extra-lesional fibroblast (ELF) migration and invasion properties. (a) Fibroblast migration response toward the 2-mm migration zone, in an in vitro two-dimensional collagen assay. Representative micrographs are shown from three independent experiments. (b) The average number of migrated fibroblasts in the migration zone with and without compounds. *P<0.05, significant difference compared with the DMSO group. **P0.01, significant difference compared with the Rapamycin group. #P<0.05, significant difference in KF migration compared with ELFs. (c) Fibroblasts’ invasive response toward the 2-mm invasion zone in an in vitro three-dimensional basement membrane extract model. (d) The average number of invaded cells in the invasion zone. **P<0.01 indicates significant difference compared with primary ELFs. *P<0.03 indicates significant difference in primary KFs compared with the DMSO group. #P<0.05 indicates significant difference in primary ELFs compared with the DMSO group.Download Power Point slide (524 KB)
Effect of KU-0063794 and KU-0068650 compounds compared to Rapamycin in in vitro and ex vivo keloid models. (a) Both KU-0063794 and KU-0068650 inhibit the expression of collagen, fibronectin, and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) at messenger RNA (mRNA) levels (keloid fibroblast (KF): n=8). (b) In-Cell Western Blotting analysis of the expression of ECM proteins, Cyclin D, and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), 24 hours post treatment with different mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors (KF: n=8). (c) Shrinkage of keloid organ culture (OC) after different compound treatments. Average weight of the keloid OC (n=10) at different time points are indicated in the bar graph. Four millimeter keloid explant biopsies were removed from the collagen gel matrix and its weight was determined in triplicates. (d) In MTT 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay both, KU-0063794 and KU-0068650 showed much greater inhibitory effect on metabolic activity in keloid OC (n=8) as compared with Rapamycin. *P<0.05, **P0.01 indicates significant difference compared with the DMSO group.Download Power Point slide (424 KB)
Both KU-0063794 and KU-0068650 compounds induce apoptosis and deplete CD31 and CD34 +Ve cells in keloid organ culture. (a) Representative micrographs of TUNEL staining (red-nuclei and green–yellow TUNEL+Ve cells) (n=8). Original magnification, × 200. D, dermis; EP, epidermis. Arrows indicate TUNEL+Ve cells. (b) % of TUNEL+Ve cells (n=8). *P<0.05, **P<0.01 indicates significant difference compared with the DMSO control group. (c) Representative micrographs of CD31+Ve endothelial cells after different compound treatments (n=8). Original magnification × 100. Arrows indicate CD31+Ve cells. (d) Representative micrographs of CD34+Ve microvascular endothelial cell marker after different compound treatments. Original magnification, × 200. Red, nuclei; green, CD34+Ve cells. Arrows indicate CD34+Ve cells.Download Power Point slide (582 KB)
Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is essential in controlling several cellular functions. This pathway is dysregulated in keloid disease (KD). KD is a common fibroproliferative dermal lesion with an ill-defined treatment strategy. KD demonstrates excessive matrix deposition, angiogenesis, and inflammatory cell infiltration. In KD, both total and phosphorylated forms of mTOR and p70(S6K)(Thr421/Ser424) are upregulated. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate adenosine triphosphate-competitive inhibitors of mTOR kinase previously unreported in keloid and their comparative efficacy with Rapamycin. Here, we present two mTOR kinase inhibitors, KU-0063794 and KU-0068650, that target both mTORC1 and mTORC2 signaling. Treatment with either KU-0063794 or KU-0068650 resulted in complete suppression of Akt, mTORC1, and mTORC2, and inhibition of keloid cell spreading, proliferation, migration, and invasive properties at a very low concentration (2.5 μmol l(-1)). Both KU-0063794 and KU-0068650 significantly (P<0.05) inhibited cell cycle regulation and HIF1-α expression compared with that achieved with Rapamycin alone. In addition, both compounds induced shrinkage and growth arrest in KD, associated with the inhibition of angiogenesis, induction of apoptosis, and reduction in keloid phenotype-associated markers. In contrast, Rapamycin induced minimal antitumor activity. In conclusion, potent dual mTORC1 and mTORC2 inhibitors display therapeutic potential for the treatment of KD.Journal of Investigative Dermatology advance online publication, 10 January 2013; doi:10.1038/jid.2012.483.
 
Lichen sclerosus (LS) is considered to have an immunogenetic background. Several small studies, using serological typing, have reported that HLA-DR11, DR12, and DQ7 were increased in LS, with DR17 less frequent. This study aimed to validate and detect new HLA-DR and DQ associations with LS in females and its characteristic clinical parameters. The cases, 187 female LS patients, and 354 healthy controls were all UK North Europeans. PCR-sequence specific primers method was applied to genotype the HLA-DR, DQ polymorphisms that correspond to 17 serologically defined DR and seven DQ antigens. Statistical analysis was performed with two-tailed Fisher's exact test with Bonferroni adjustment (p value after Bonferrroni adjustment, Pc). We found increased frequency of DRB1*12 (DR12) (11.2%vs 2.5%, pc < 0.01) and the haplotype DRB1*12/DQB1*0301/04/09/010 (11.2%vs 2.5%, p < 0.001, pc < 0.05), and a lower frequency of DRB1*0301/04 (DR17) (11.8%vs 25.8%, pc < 0.01) and the haplotype DRB1*03/DQB1*02DRB1*0301/DQB1*0201/02/03 (11.2%vs 24.6%, pc < 0.0001) in patients compared with controls. HLA DR and DQ antigens were not associated with time of onset of disease, site of involvement, structural changes of genitals, and response to treatment with potent topical steroids. In conclusion, HLA-DR and DQ antigens or their haplotypes appear to be involved in both susceptibility to and protection from LS.
 
Crude coal tar (CCT) and certain photoreactive ingredients of CCT are photosensitizing agents used in the treatment of skin diseases (psoriasis, atopic eczema, etc.). Limited information is available in elucidating the mode of action of CCT in clearing psoriasis or causing skin photosensitization reactions. The production of singlet oxygen (1O2) and superoxide radicals (O(2) or HO2), the formation of interstrand cross-links (ICL) in DNA, and the skin photosensitization reaction caused by CCT or the ingredients present in tar preparations have been examined. Both type I (oxygen-independent) and type II (sensitized reactions requiring molecular oxygen) reactions are induced by CCT. Our data show that CCT and some of the photoreactive ingredients present in CCT produce 1O2, O(2), and ICL in DNA upon exposure to UVA radiation. Based on the equivalent concentration, the efficiency of various agents to produce 1O2 was of the following order: hematoporphyrin greater than phenanthridine greater than acridine greater than methylene blue greater than CCT greater than fluoranthrene greater than anthracene greater than pyrene greater than 8-methoxypsoralen greater than anthralin greater than chloroquine greater than anthralin dimer. The O(2) formation with CCT and its ingredients was also of the same order except for anthracene which was found to be a strong producer of O(2). The therapeutic effectiveness of CCT appears to be due to: (a) its cytotoxic effects, and (b) the production of 1O2, O(2), and ICL by CCT and its photoreactive ingredients. The skin photosensitizing (smarting, edema, and erythema responses) and carcinogenic properties of CCT may also be related to the production of 1O2 and O(2) and the formation of ICL which appear to be responsible for inducing the damage to the DNA and cell membrane.
 
Several sources of evidence suggest that tumor-specific T cells have the potential to control melanoma tumors. Current active and adoptive therapeutic approaches to elicit such T cells are either not sufficiently clinically efficient or require fastidious processes that impede their extensive clinical use. As plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) have a crucial role in triggering antitumor immunity especially in melanoma, we explored their potential as a cell-based approach for melanoma immunotherapy. An irradiated human HLA-A(*)0201(+) pDC line loaded with peptides derived from the major melanoma tumor antigens, MelA/MART-1, gp100/pmel17, tyrosinase, and MAGE-A3, was used to trigger functional multi-specific T cells ex vivo from peripheral blood mononuclear cells and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes from stage I-IV HLA-A(*)0201(+) melanoma patients. pDCs loaded with melanoma-derived peptides promptly induced high levels of melanoma tumor-specific T cells from both sources. pDC-primed central/effector memory antitumor T cells were highly functional as indicated by the specific IFNγ secretion and membrane CD107 expression upon stimulation. Cells also exhibited strong cytotoxicity toward semi-allogeneic melanoma cells and patient-derived tumor cells. The simple design and potent efficacy of this promising approach provides a preclinical basis for the development of a pDC-based vaccine and an alternative means to produce tumor-specific T cells for adoptive cellular immunotherapy in melanoma patients.
 
EH-57.1-positive individuals carry a 26 times elevated risk of developing type I psoriasis. HLA class I antigens were analyzed by standard serological methods, and HLA class II alleles were typed by PCR-SSO. Absolute numbers of cases positive for the allele or alleles under investigation were determined and used to calculate phenotype frequencies as well as 2 likelihood ratios. The p-values were corrected according to Bonferroni. Phenotype-frequencies (Pf) of the single HLA class I and II alleles within EH-57.1 and of EH-57.1 itself are shown. Controls (open columns) are compared with type I and type II psoriasis (solid columns). Significantly overrepresented (p cor. 0.01) and highly significantly overrepresented alleles (p cor. 0.001) are denoted by * and **, respectively. RR values were computed according to Woolf (1955) and are demonstrated by black diamonds. 
The HLA class I, but not the class II side of EH-57.1, confers susceptibility to type I psoriasis. Phenotype frequency (Pf) of haplotypes containing the class I antigens of EH-57.1 (Cw6-B57) but lacking the class II alleles of this EH (DRB1*0701-DQA1*0201DQB1*0303) (referred to as the class I side) and of haplotypes positive for the class II alleles of EH-57.1 in the absence of its HLA-class I alleles (referred to as the class II side) in controls (open columns) and type I psoriasis (solid columns). 
To further evaluate the nature of the HLA association with psoriasis, HLA haplotypes of 60 patients with type 1 (early onset, positive family history) and 30 patients with type II (late onset, no family history) psoriasis were investigated by polymerase chain reaction sequence-specific oligonucleotide hybridization (HLA class II) and serology (HLA class I). Ethnically matched blood donors (146) served as controls. In type I, but not type II psoriasis, the Caucasian HLA extended haplotype (EH) Cw6-B57-DRB1*0701-DQA1*0201-DQB1*0303 named according to the B allele EH-57.1 was highly significantly overrepresented (p cor= 0.00021). This particular EH was present in 35% of type I psoriatics but only 2% of controls. EH-57.1+ individuals therefore carry a 26 times higher risk of developing type I psoriasis than individuals who are EH-57.1-negative Further analysis of individual HLA alleles revealed that within EH-57.1, HLA class I antigens (Cw6-B57) were associated to a much higher extent with type I psoriasis than the HLA class II alleles (DRB1*0701-DQA1*0201-DQB1* 0303). Pedigree analysis of three multiply affected families over three generations revealed a cosegregation of disease with EH-57.1. These results strongly suggest that a gene for familial psoriasis is associated with the class I side of the extended haplotype Cw6-B57-DRB1*0701-DQA1*0201-DQB1*0303.
 
Although the pathogenesis of psoriasis is still a matter of debate, there are several lines of evidence supporting the concept of this disease being immunologically mediated with T cells playing a crucial role. Because a considerable portion of the cellular infiltrate in psoriasis consists of activated T-helper cells, expression of HLA class II antigens might be of particular importance for the understanding of its pathogenesis. Therefore, we investigated the HLA type of patients with type I (early onset, positive family history) and type II (late onset, no family history) psoriasis by means of serology (n = 89) and genotyping using sequence-specific oligonucleotide probes (n = 64). Serologic analysis of class I documented the association of type I psoriasis with HLA-Cw6, -B13, and -B57, whereas type II psoriasis showed a weaker correlation with HLA-Cw2 and -B27. Genotyping using SSO for class II detected the elevation of the HLA-DRB1*0701/2 allele frequency from 13% in normal population to 36% in type I, but only to 15% in type II psoriatics. Moreover, positive correlations with type I psoriasis were detected for HLA-DQA1*0201 and HLA-DQB1*0303. The HLA-DRB1*0701/2, -DQA1*0201, -DQB1*0303 extended haplotype was found exclusively in type I psoriasis. This is the first report documenting the association of distinct HLA class II alleles with type I psoriasis as detected on the DNA level, an approach both more specific and more sensitive when compared to serology.
 
Epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (EBA) is a rare autoimmune bullous disease (AIBD). However, higher EBA incidence and predisposing genetic factor(s) involving an HLA haplotype have been suspected in some populations. This retrospective study assessed the overrepresentation of black patients with EBA, its link with HLA-DRB1*15:03, and their clinical and immunological characteristics. Between 2005 and 2009, 7/13 (54%) EBA and 6/183 (3%) other-AIBD patients seen consecutively in our department were black (P=10(-6)); moreover 7/13 (54%) black patients and 6/183 (3%) white patients had EBA (P=10(-6)). In addition, between 1983 and 2005, 12 black patients had EBA. Finally, among the 19 black EBA patients, most of them had very atypical clinical presentations, 9 were natives of sub-Saharan Africa, 1 from Reunion Island, 7 from the West Indies, and 2 were of mixed ancestry. HLA-DRB1*15:03 allelic frequencies were 50% for African patients, significantly higher than the control population (P<10(-3)), and 21% for the West Indians (nonsignificant). High EBA frequencies have already been reported in American blacks significantly associated with the HLA-DR2. In conclusion, black-skinned patients developing EBA seem to have a genetic predisposition, and EBA should be suspected systematically for every AIBD seen in this population.
 
Alopecia areata (AA) is characterized by hair loss in patches (patchy AA), over the entire scalp (AT, totalis), or universally (AU). An autoimmune mechanism has been hypothesized, because the inflammatory infiltrate targeted to the hair follicles includes activated T cells. To investigate whether or not genetic polymorphism of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) region contributes to disease susceptibility, we used sequence-specific oligonucleotides and amplified genomic DNA to define HLA-DQA1, -DQB1, and -DPB1 alleles in a cohort of 85 white patients. The frequency of DQB1*0301 was significantly increased to 41% in all patients, and to 47% in AT/AU patients relative to controls (27%). Analyzed together, DQB1*03 alleles (DQB1*0301-*0303) were increased to 80% (all patients) and to 92% (AT/AU) (odds ratio = 12.14, p = 0.00003, corrected). This striking association implicates the DQB1*03 alleles in the pathogenesis of AA. DQB1*06 was decreased relative to controls (56%) in all patients (32%, odds ratio = 0.37, p = 0.0045, corrected). An increase was observed in the HLA-DRB1*11(DR5) allele DRB1*1104, which may result from linkage disequilibrium with DQB1 alleles. Sequence comparison among the allele products associated with AA indicates that the DQB1*03 alleles carry a unique proline at position 55 that is not present in alleles that are neutral or negatively associated with the disease. This highly significant association may exert considerable control over immune responsiveness and the initiation or persistence of a T-cell autoimmune response against the hair follicle.
 
Erythema multiforme (EM) is an acute, episodic inflammatory disorder of the skin and mucous membranes of various etiology that could he related to immunologic hypersensitivity response. EM has been previously reported to be associated with serologically defined HLA-DRw53 and DQw3 antigens. In this report, we reevaluate the role of HLA class II alleles in EM manifestations. With use of the polymerase chain reaction, followed by sequence-specific oligonucleotide by- hybridization, 35 unrelated Caucasian EM patients and 80 randomly selected healthy subjects were studied, and the DRB3, DRB4, DQA1, and DQB1 alleles were analyzed. The comparison of frequencies of these alleles indicates that (i) susceptibility to EM disease is more associated with the HLA-DQ than tile HLA-DR subregions and (ii) that the DQB1*0301 is the most frequent allele among EM patients. Sixty-six percent of the patients had the DQB1*0301 allele compared to 31% of the controls (RR = 4.1; p<0.001). An even stronger DQB1*0301 association was found in the patient group with herpes-associated EM (76%; RR = 6.5; p < 0.001). Our data demonstrate a clear association between an HLA-DQB1 allele and susceptibility to EM.
 
To determine the immunogenetic characteristics of patients with immune-mediated subepithelial blistering diseases of mucous membranes, we performed HLA-typing for the class II MHC gene DQB1*0301 allele using a direct method. Genomic DNA extracted from Caucasian patients was amplified by polymerase chain reaction using primer pairs specific for the DQB loci followed by Southern blotting with a peroxidase-conjugated sequence-specific oligonucleotide probe. Seventy-six percent (16/21) of patients with ocular mucosal disease (with or without oral mucosal and skin diseases) carried the DQB1*0301 allele; by contrast, only 33% (14/42) of race-, age-, and geography-matched normal individuals carried the DQB1*0301 allele (p < 0.005). The relative risk for ocular disease if DQB1*0301 allele is present is 6.4, similar to the relative risk of 8 for patients with ocular but no oral disease (pure ocular cicatricial pemphigoid, p < 0.025). In patients with oral mucosal disease (with or without ocular mucosal and skin diseases), 68% (15/22) carried the DQB1*0301 allele (p < 0.025). When patients with ocular disease were excluded, however, the increased occurrence of the DQB1*0301 allele in patients with oral disease was not statistically significant (64%, 7/11, p < 0.25). In patients with subepidermal blistering skin disease but no oral or ocular disease, there was no increase in the occurrence of the DQB1*0301 allele (38%, 5/13, p > 0.5). The significantly increased occurrence of the DQB1*0301 allele in patients with ocular mucosal disease may point to a distinct immunogenetic factor that predisposes patients to develop an ocular scarring process.
 
It has previously been demonstrated that susceptibility to pemphigus vulgaris is associated with human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR4 serologic specificity among Ashkenase Jews, and with DR4 as well as DR6 (DR14) in other ethnic groups. We genotyped HLA-DRB1, DQA1, DQB1, and DPB1 alleles in 16 patients with pemphigus by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism, to find evidence of potential HLA class II allele associations with pemphigus in Japanese patients who have a relatively homogeneous ethnic background. All nine patients with pemphigus vulgaris and five of seven patients with pemphigus foliaceus carried one or two alleles of HLA-DRB1*04 (*0403, *0406) and HLA-DRB1*14 (*1401, *1405, *1406) subtypes. Sequence analysis of these DRB1*04 and DRB1*14 alleles revealed the amino acid homology of phenylalanine at position 26 and valine at position 86 with the DRB1*0402 allele that reportedly confers a strong susceptibility to pemphigus vulgaris in Ashkenazi Jews. Thus our findings, together with previous HLA studies on pemphigus vulgaris patients of different ethnic groups, suggest that HLA-DRB1*04 and DRB1*14 alleles are commonly associated with pemphigus vulgaris across racial barriers. These HLA-DRB1 alleles are likely to be also associated with pemphigus foliaceus. Further studies on more diverse ethnic populations will be helpful in determining the significance of the association between certain amino acid residues of the class II molecules and disease susceptibility to pemphigus vulgaris as well as pemphigus foliaceus.
 
HLA-C*06:02 carrier and noncarrier distribution in the whole sample set. Frequency of HLAC*06:02 allele in the different age-at-onset groups.Download Power Point slide (156 KB)
Characteristics of participants
Association for ERAP1 SNP rs26653 stratified for HLA-Cw06 status and age. Estimates of genotype effects were calculated using logistic regression in the R software package. Individuals with the low-risk genotypes for rs26653 GG and HLA-C*06 NN were set as the baseline. The other genotype combinations were coded according to a series of dichotomous indicator variables. Odds ratios were derived by exponentiation of the relevant coefficient from the logistic regression.Download Power Point slide (173 KB)
HLA-C remains the strongest susceptibility candidate gene in psoriasis. Evidence for interaction between HLA-C and endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase 1 (ERAP1) confined to individuals carrying the HLA-C risk allele was recently reported. Psoriasis displays wide variation, and genetic heterogeneity is likely to contribute to clinical diversity. Age at disease onset is a putative discriminator, and separating psoriasis into early- (<40 years) and late-onset disease has been useful. To sharpen the age-dependent phenotype, we compared genotypes for ERAP1 (rs26653, rs30187, and rs27524) and HLA-C*06:02 in healthy controls and cases stratified for onset of psoriasis at <10, 10-20, 20-40, and >40 years of age. This approach revealed that association with ERAP1 was confined to cases with onset between 10 and 20 years (odds ratio 1.59, 95% confidence interval: 1.28-1.98, P=0.00008) and no association was detected in cases with onset below 10 years, reflecting genetic heterogeneity within the childhood psoriasis population. In contrast to earlier findings, association with ERAP1 was neither dependent on nor interacting with HLA-C*06:02. ERAP1 single-nucleotide polymorphism rs26653, which, to our knowledge, has not previously been reported in psoriasis, is nonsynonymous, has suggestive functional consequences, and herein displays strong association with disease.Journal of Investigative Dermatology advance online publication, 30 August 2012; doi:10.1038/jid.2012.280.
 
We investigated the HLA-C locus of 87 unrelated patients with chronic plaque psoriasis by genotyping with sequence-specific amplification primers. The HLA-Cw*0602 allele was significantly increased in male and female type I psoriatics but not significantly increased in either male or female type II psoriatics. The overall frequency of Ala-73 (present in Cw*04, Cw*0602, Cw*07, Cw*12, Cw*1503, and Cw*17) in psoriatics was 88.5% but the incidence of Ala-73 in our Caucasian controls was also high at 84.3%. Ala-73 was present in 97.2% of type I and 85.7% of type II male psoriatics (chi2 = 8.43, p = 0.001; chi2 = 0.01, p = nonsignificant, respectively), in contrast to 81.5% of type I and 80% of type II female psoriatics (nonsignificant). HLA-Cw*0602 appeared more discriminating in determining disease susceptibility in our population than Ala-73, in line with earlier serologic studies implicating HLA-Cw6. Thus, although the frequency of HLA-Cw*0602 decreased from 54.0% in type I to 29.2% in type II psoriatics, the overall frequency of Ala-73, present in 90.4% of type I and 83.3% of type II psoriatics, did not. (i) Thus this study confirms the strong association between psoriasis and HLA-Cw*0602 by using sequence-specific amplification primers. (ii) Results show that Ala-73 on HLA-C molecules is increased in frequency in psoriasis, but results observed show an association more subtle than previously thought, with HLA-Cw*0602 playing the major role. (iii) This report documents the differential association of HLA genes in male and female psoriatic patients. An interaction between gender and immunogenetics may influence susceptibility to psoriasis.
 
A major susceptibility gene for psoriasis is located in the major histocompatibility complex class I region on chromosome 6 very close to the HLA-Cw6 gene. We collected a cohort of 1,019 patients with chronic plaque psoriasis. The patients were typed for HLA-C and HLA-B. A total of 654 (64.2%) were HLA-Cw*0602 positive but 365 (35.8%) carried other HLA-C alleles. We confirmed that HLA-Cw*0602 positive patients have younger age of onset (17.5 vs 24.3 years, P<10(-10)), higher incidence of guttate and the eruptive type of psoriasis (P<0.0001), more frequent exacerbations with throat infections (P=0.01), higher incidence of the Koebner's phenomenon (P=0.01), and more extensive disease (P=0.03). A striking new finding was a diverging pattern of disease severity in HLA-Cw*0602 positive and negative patients depending on the age of onset of the disease (P=0.0006). HLA-Cw*0602 positive women also had more frequent remissions during pregnancy (P<0.0001). All types of nail changes were, however, more common in the Cw*0602 negative patients (P=0.003) and they more often had multiple types of nail lesions (P<0.0001). The three ancestral haplotypes of Cw*0602 all conferred an increase in odds ratio but showed no difference in any of the clinical features studied. Our findings indicate that the genetic factor on chromosome 6 has a strong influence on the phenotype of the disease, and underline that differences in clinical features of psoriasis may be to a large extent genetically determined.
 
Psoriasis has been strongly associated to HLA-Cw6, but it remains unclear whether Cw6 itself or a closely linked gene is associated with the disease. The aim of this study was to clarify whether the HLA-C itself determines disease susceptibility or whether it acts only as a marker for the susceptibility allele. We examined a sample of 95 type I psoriasis patients and 104 Spanish matched controls to investigate whether HLA-Cw*0602 or other closely related class I loci, such as HLA-B and MICA (which are centromeric to HLA-C), or corneodesmosin gene and octamer transcription factor-3 genes (which are telomeric to HLA-C), might play a part in disease development. DNA samples were genotyped by polymerase chain reaction/sequence-specific primers (HLA-C), polymerase chain reaction/sequence-specific primers (HLA-B), radioactive polymerase chain reaction (MICA-TM polymorphism in the transmembrane region), and polymerase chain reaction/restriction fragment length polymorphism (protein S and octamer transcription factor-3). Our results show a significant increase of Cw*0602 in psoriasis patients (odds ratio = 3.64; pc < 0.0006). A significant association between the beta allele of octamer transcription factor-3 (HindIII) and psoriasis was also detected (odds ratio = 3.76; pc < 0.0003). The allele octamer transcription factor-3B (etiologic fraction = 0.62) was found to be more strongly associated to psoriasis vulgaris than Cw*0602 (etiologic fraction = 0.35) and the increase of octamer transcription factor-3 B allele is independent of the linkage disequilibrium with Cw*0602 as this was also found in Cw*0602 negative patients (odds ratio = 3.63; pc < 0.015, etiologic fraction = 0.55). We did not detect an association between the corneodesmosin gene and psoriasis. This fact suggests that the psoriasis susceptibility gene is located within a critical region of 147 kb, telomeric to HLA-C and centromeric to the corneodesmosin gene, and the association of Cw6 to psoriasis may be secondary to linkage disequilibrium.
 
The Journal of Investigative Dermatology publishes basic and clinical research in cutaneous biology and skin disease.
 
Evidence suggests that the phospholipase C/protein kinase C signal transduction system participates in the regulation of epidermal cell growth and differentiation. Psoriatic epidermis is characterized by hyperproliferation, defective differentiation, and inflammation. In this report, we have determined the activity of phospholipase C-catalyzed hydrolysis of phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) and 1,2-diacylglycerol content in normal and psoriatic involved and uninvolved epidermis. 1,2-diacylglycerol is formed from phospholipase C-catalyzed hydrolysis of PIP2 and is the physiologic activator of protein kinase C. PIP2 hydrolysis was assayed in soluble and particulate fractions prepared from keratome biopsies of normal and psoriatic skin. Total lipids were extracted from normal and psoriatic epidermis and 1,2-diradylglycerol (a mixture of 1,2-diacylglycerol and 1-ether, 2-acyl-glycerol) quantitated by enzyme assay. Because 1,2-diacylglycerol is a more potent activator of protein kinase C, the relative proportions of 1,2-diacyl and 1-ether, 2-acylglycerol in uninvolved and involved psoriatic epidermis were determined. This was accomplished by separation of acetate derivatives of 1,2-diacylglycerol and 1-ether, 2-acyl-glycerol by thin layer chromatography. Soluble and membrane-associated phospholipase C-catalyzed PIP2 hydrolysis were increased 3.7 times (p less than 0.001) and 3 times (p less than 0.004), respectively, in psoriatic involved compared to uninvolved and normal epidermis. 1,2-diradylglycerol content was also significantly elevated (3 times, p less than 0.01) in psoriatic involved versus uninvolved and normal epidermis. Analysis of the acetate derivatives of 1,2-diradylglycerol in psoriatic uninvolved and involved epidermis revealed that 1,2-diacylglycerol was the major species (86% and 95%, respectively). There were no significant differences in either phospholipase C-catalyzed PIP2 hydrolysis or 1,2-diacylglycerol content between uninvolved and normal epidermis. 1,2-diacylglycerol purified from normal and involved psoriatic epidermis was capable of activating protein kinase C from normal epidermis in vitro. In epidermal slices, activation of protein kinase C by addition of 12-0-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate and 1,2-diacylglycerol (1,2-dioctanoylglycerol) resulted in subsequently decreased protein kinase C activity, a process termed down-regulation. These data are consistent with the possibility that the elevation in lesional 1,2-diacylglycerol content may account, in part, for the previously reported reduction of protein kinase C activity in psoriasis (Horn, Marks, Fisher, et al: J Invest Dermatol 88:220-222, 1987).
 
The ability of a variety of agonists to induce formation of inositol phosphates and 1,2-diacylglycerol in cultured adult human keratinocytes has been investigated. Histamine, bradykinin, and thrombin significantly stimulated formation of inositol mono-, bis-, and trisphosphate and 1,2-diacylglycerol within 5 min after addition. Aluminum fluoride also caused a dose-dependent accumulation of inositol phosphates suggesting the participation of a GTP binding protein in the regulation of phospholipase C-catalyzed phosphoinositide hydrolysis. These data demonstrate that human keratinocytes possess the capacity for phospholipase C-mediated signal transduction and suggest that this pathway may participate in the regulation of keratinocyte function.
 
The effects of bradykinin on activation of phosphoinositide turnover, 1,2-diglyceride formation, and growth of cultured adult human keratinocytes were investigated. Keratinocytes specifically bound [3H]bradykinin with high affinity (kd = 3.4 nM) and displayed 1.5 X 10(5) binding sites/cell. Bradykinin caused a rapid dose-dependent increase in inositol trisphosphate (IP3) inositol bisphosphate, and inositol monophosphate. IP3 was maximally increased (fivefold) at 30 s and remained elevated for at least 10 min. Half maximal stimulation of IP3 formation was observed at 27 nM bradykinin. IP3 accumulation was equally elevated by bradykinin and lys-bradykinin but was not stimulated by des-Arg9-bradykinin, indicating that phospholipase C in cultured keratinocytes is coupled to B2 bradykinin receptors. Treatment of keratinocytes with active phorbol ester (TPA) caused a significant inhibition (50%) of bradykinin-induced IP3 accumulation, suggesting negative regulation of phospholipase C by protein kinase C. Bradykinin also caused a significant elevation in 1,2-diacylglycerol (DAG) content. DAG content was maximally elevated (twofold) at 1 min and remained elevated for at least 10 min. Bradykinin also caused a significant (twofold, p less than 0.02) increase in keratinocyte growth. These data demonstrate that bradykinin is a potent agonist of the phospholipase C/protein kinase C signal transduction system in cultured adult human keratinocytes and that activation of this pathway by bradykinin is associated with increased keratinocyte growth.
 
1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25[OH]2VD3) has an antiproliferative effect on keratinocyte growth, and its derivatives are used for the treatment of psoriasis. It was reported previously that 1,25[OH]2VD3 induced cell cycle arrest not only at the G0/G1 phase but also at the G2/M phase. However, the mechanism of 1,25[OH]2VD3-induced G2/M phase arrest in keratinocytes has not been fully understood. The addition of 10(-8) to 10(-6) M 1,25[OH]2VD3 to cultured normal human keratinocytes enhanced the expression of Myt1 mRNA preceding Wee1 mRNA; 10(-6) M 1,25[OH]2VD3 unregulated Myt1 mRNA from 6 h to 24 h and Wee1 mRNA from 12 to 48 h. Interestingly, the levels of phosphorylated Cdc2 were increased between 6 h and 48 h after 1,25[OH]2VD3 treatment, although the expression levels of Cdc2 mRNA and its protein production were reduced. 1,25[OH]2VD3 also decreased the expression of cyclin B1, which forms a complex with Cdc2. These data indicated that the increase of Myt1 and Wee1 induced the phosphorylation of Cdc2 leading to G2/M arrest. In conclusion, the induction of Cdc2 phosphorylation due to the increase of Wee1 and Myt1 as well as the reduction of Cdc2 and cyclin B1 are involved in 1,25[OH]2VD3-induced G2/M arrest of keratinocytes.
 
Induction of immunosuppression by 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3) is mediated via Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs). DEREG (depletion of regulatory T cells) mice were painted on the backs with 1,25(OH)2D3 for 4 consecutive days. At 24 hours after the last treatment, mice were sensitized with DNFB painted onto 1,25(OH)2D3-treated skin. At 48 hours after sensitization, one group of animals received 1 μg diphtheria toxin (DT) on 3 consecutive days. Five days after sensitization, splenocytes and lymph node cells were obtained from 1,25(OH)2D3-treated DEREG mice and injected intravenously (i.v). into naive wild-type (WT) mice. Recipients were sensitized against DNFB 24 hours after transfer. Five days later, challenge with DNFB was performed. Positive control (Pos Co) mice were sensitized and challenged, whereas negative control (Neg Co) mice were only challenged. The ear swelling response is expressed as the difference (cm × 10−3, mean±SD) between the thickness of the challenged ear and the thickness of the vehicle-treated ear. *P<0.05 versus Pos Co.Download Power Point slide (138 KB)
Low-dose UV radiation (UVR) inhibits the induction of contact hypersensitivity and induces regulatory T cells (Tregs), which because of their antigen specificity harbor therapeutic potential. Topical application of 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) (1,25(OH)(2)D(3)) is known to induce Tregs as well, which implies that 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) might be involved in UVR-induced immunosuppression. It was the aim of this study to clarify this issue, to further characterize 1,25(OH)(2)D(3)-induced Tregs and to determine whether they differ from UVR-induced Tregs. Our data demonstrate that 1,25(OH)(2)D(3)-induced Tregs act in an antigen-specific manner and belong to the Foxp3-expressing subtype of Tregs as demonstrated by diphtheria toxin (DT)-mediated depletion of Foxp3(+) Tregs in DEREG (depletion of Tregs) mice. Using Langerin-DTR (DT receptor) knock-in mice, it was shown that Langerhans cells (LCs) are required for the induction of Tregs by 1,25(OH)(2)D(3), as depletion of LCs but not Langerin(+) dermal dendritic cells abrogated the induction of Tregs. Taken together, 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) affects the immune system in a similar manner as UVR, probably using the same pathways. However, vitamin D receptor knockout mice were equally susceptible to UVR-induced immunosupppression as wild-type controls. This indicates that 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) exerts similar immunosuppressive effects as UVR but is dispensable for local UVR-induced immunosuppression.Journal of Investigative Dermatology advance online publication, 2 August 2012; doi:10.1038/jid.2012.238.
 
The biologic effects of the vitamin D hormone 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3) are believed to be mediated by an intracellular vitamin D receptor, which after ligand binding acts as a transcription factor modulating expression of a variety of genes. Besides having a well-known role in calcium metabolism, this hormone is an important regulator of proliferation in a majority of normal and neoplastic cells. Keratinocytes provide a convenient model for investigating the growth-related effects of vitamin D in normal cells. Growth of keratinocytes may be either stimulated or inhibited by 1,25(OH)2D3, depending on the degree of cell differentiation. We show here that 1,25(OH)2D3 stimulates DNA synthesis via sequential activation of Raf and the mitogen-activated protein kinase. Activation of these kinases is independent on protein and mRNA synthesis and is preceded by rapid tyrosine phosphorylation of an adaptor protein p66 (Shc) and formation of a complex between p66 Shc, a bridging molecule Grb2, and a Ras activator, mSos. Vitamin D receptor protein associates with Shc, indicating that this steroid hormone is able to signal through the transcription-independent pathways similar to those used by peptide hormones and cytokines.
 
Both 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (VD) and retinoids have potent effects on keratinocyte proliferation. Parallelism in their action as steroid hormones, which involves interaction of their receptors, and in their therapeutic efficacy for hyper-proliferative skin diseases provides a rationale to investigate their combined action on proliferation in pre-confluent human epidermal keratinocyte cultures. As shown by [3H]thymidine incorporation, all-trans retinoic acid (atRA) at subpharmacologic concentrations and 9-cis retinoic acid (9cRA) diminished the anti-proliferative effect of VD. Pre-incubation of the cells with the retinoids clearly enhanced this effect. Cell-cycle analysis revealed G1 arrest upon VD treatment that was attenuated by retinoic acid (RA). Moreover, Northern and Western blot analysis demonstrated that retinoic acid opposed VD-induced accumulation of transforming growth factor-beta1, p21WAF1, and p27KIP1. Finally, retinoic acid reduced VD-elicited hypophosphorylation of the retinoblastoma protein. AtRA at micromolar concentrations conversely potentiated most of the aforementioned VD-dependent actions. In addition, atRA and 9cRA (but not VD) caused a rapid, sustained reduction of RXR alpha protein. VD receptor protein was induced by VD regardless of the presence of RA. In conclusion, RA modulates VD-dependent effects at different levels of keratinocyte proliferation. This could have implications for the use of combinations of both drugs for skin diseases.
 
1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25[OH]2D3) inhibits proliferation of keratinocytes in vitro and psoriatic epidermal cells in vivo and is considered to be a negative regulator of keratinocyte growth. It has been recently observed, however, that 1,25(OH)2D3 and its active analogs stimulate epidermal proliferation after topical application in mice. In this study we show that 1,25(OH)2D3, depending on the culture conditions, can either stimulate or inhibit DNA synthesis in human keratinocytes. In cells cultured with 0.15 mM calcium in the absence or with low levels (0.1 ng/ml) of epidermal growth factor, exposure to 10(-11) - 10(-6) M 1,25(OH)2D3 imposed cell cycle block in the late G1 phase. When keratinocytes were cultured in the presence of high extracellular calcium concentration (1.8 mM), 1,25(OH)2D3 in concentrations of 10(-11) - 10(-9) M stimulated cell growth by increasing the proportion of cells entering S phase. 1,25(OH)2D3 also stimulated growth of keratinocytes cultured in low calcium concentrations when the cells were previously suspended for a short time in a semisolid medium. Growth stimulation was absent in the presence of the anti-E-cadherin antibody, which is known to inhibit calcium-dependent differentiation. These results suggest that keratinocytes committed to terminal differentiation by an elevation of calcium concentration or suspension in a semisolid medium respond to 1,25(OH)2D3 with an increase in DNA synthesis. In contrast, proliferating undifferentiated keratinocytes may be the main target for the anti-proliferative activity of 1,25(OH)2D3.
 
1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D3] transactivates its target genes via the vitamin D receptor (VDR). VDR functions in physiology as a dimer complexed with retinoid X receptor (RXR), whose natural ligand is 9-cis-retinoic acid (9-c-RA). Inactivation of 1,25(OH)2D3 occurs through a cytochrome P-450 24-hydroxylase (OHase). The promoter of the human 24-OHase gene contains a 1,25(OH)2D3-responsive enhancer element (VDRE). We have used this VDRE containing gene as an endogenous reporter for vitamin D3-mediated gene activation in vivo. Normal adult human skin was keratomed after a 2-d exposure to 1,25(OH)2D3, 9-c-RA, all-trans-RA, and ketoconazole. 1,25(OH)2D3 caused a concentration-dependent increase in 24-OHase mRNA expression as determined by northern blot analysis. The activity of epidermal 24-OHase was also induced by 1,25(OH)2D3. Compared with vehicle, neither of the RA isomers nor ketoconazole alone induced 24-OHase mRNA. Addition of 9-c-RA or t-RA to 1,25(OH)2D3, however, caused a synergistic increase in 24-OHase mRNA. Similarly, 1,25(OH)2D3 plus ketoconazole increased 24-OHase mRNA synergistically. Ketoconazole inhibited ex vivo 1,25(OH)2D3-induced epidermal 24-OHase activity. Thus, 24-OHase mRNA induction is a sensitive reporter of 1,25(OH)2D3 activity in vivo; RXR bound to VDR is not a silent partner in vivo, because 9-c-RA enhances 1,25(OH)2D3-liganded RXR/VDR stimulation of the VDRE containing 24-OHase gene; ketoconazole inhibition of 24-OHase enhances 1,25(OH)2D3 activity by impeding its breakdown. Thus, the synergistic response of human skin to topical 1,25(OH)2D3 and/or 1,25(OH)2D3 analogs plus RXR retinoids and/or ketoconazole may be exploited to give a desired biologic/therapeutic response with less 1,25(OH)2D3, minimizing the potential calcemic risk from systemic absorption of 1,25(OH)2D3.
 
Keratinocytes produce vitamin D3 and convert it to the most active form, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, which regulates keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation. Phospholipase C-gamma1 is the most abundant member of the phospholipase C family in keratinocytes and is induced by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. Therefore, phospholipase C-gamma1 might be important in the signaling pathway mediating 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin-D3-induced keratinocyte differentiation. To test this hypothesis, phospholipase C-gamma1 expression in human keratinocytes was reduced by transfecting the cells with an antisense phospholipase C-gamma1 construct and then evaluating the response of the keratinocyte differentiation markers involucrin and transglutaminase to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. The results showed that involucrin and transglutaminase protein and mRNA levels were markedly reduced in keratinocytes transfected by the antisense phospholipase C-gamma1 construct. Cotransfection of keratinocytes with the involucrin or transglutaminase promoter construct and the antisense phospholipase C-gamma1 construct showed decreased involucrin or transglutaminase promoter activity in response to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. To further investigate the mechanism by which phospholipase C-gamma1 regulates keratinocyte differentiation, the calcium and inositol triphosphate levels in keratinocytes transfected by the antisense phospholipase C-gamma1 construct were measured following 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 administration. The increase in keratinocyte intracellular free calcium and inositol triphosphate levels following 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 administration were markedly reduced by the transfection of the antisense phospholipase C-gamma1 construct. These studies indicate that phospholipase C-gamma1 plays a critical role in the signal transduction pathway mediating 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin-D3-induced keratinocyte differentiation at least in part by mediating the increase in inositol triphosphate production and intracellular calcium mobilization following 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 administration.
 
1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3) is a potent inhibitor of keratinocyte proliferation, as well as a stimulator of epidermal terminal differentiation. In the present studies, we investigated the influence of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and insulin on the antiproliferative and differentiation activities of 1,25(OH)2D3. Our results indicate the following: (1) EGF caused a dramatic potentiation of the 1,25(OH)2 D3-induced inhibition of 3H-thymidine incorporation into keratinocytes in a dose-dependent manner; (2) insulin acted antagonistically on the EGF-dependent potentiation of the 1,25(OH)2D3-induced antiproliferative activity; (3) transforming growth factor-alpha potentiated 1,25(OH)2D3-induced antiproliferative activity similar to EGF; (4) the EGF effect was not dependent upon 1,25(OH)2D3 receptor mRNA up-regulation; and (5) removal of insulin from medium supplemented with growth factors significantly potentiated the 1,25(OH)2D3-induced inhibition on the number of basal cells and the 1,25(OH)2D3-dependent cornified envelope formation. In conclusion, the antiproliferative activity of 1,25(OH)2D3 in cultured normal human keratinocytes is greatly enhanced by EGF or transforming growth factor-alpha and reduced by insulin. Insulin also inhibits 1,25(OH)2D3-induced terminal differentiation of cultured normal human keratinocytes.
 
Accumulating evidence has emphasized the importance of immunocompetent cells in determining the psoriatic phenotype. We have investigated the effect of 1alpha,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol, the naturally occurring active form of vitamin D3, cyclosporine A, and interleukin-10 on the phenotype of human psoriatic skin xenotransplants. First, psoriatic skin transplants were injected with either 1alpha,25-dihydroxy- cholecalciferol, cyclosporine A, or interleukin-10. Second, we determined the ability of autologous lymphocytes, activated in vitro using staphylococcal enterotoxin B and interleukin-2 and then exposed to either 1alpha, 25-dihydroxycholecalciferol or cyclosporine A, to induce psoriatic lesions if they were injected into the dermis of uninvolved skin grafts. We found that injections into transplanted psoriatic plaques of either 1alpha,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol or cyclosporine A, but not interleukin-10, resulted in a consistent reduction in the clinical and histologic score of psoriasis with remission towards uninvolved psoriatic skin. Injection of activated immunocytes into symptomless psoriatic skin grafts, changed the grafts towards plaque-type psoriasis with silvery scale, parakeratosis, elongated rete pegs, acanthosis, and dermal angiogenic reaction. In contrast, if activated immunocytes were exposed to 1alpha, 25-dihydroxycholecalciferol or cyclosporine A prior to injection, only minimal changes occurred. It was determined that neither staphylococcal enterotoxin B and interleukin-2 activation by itself, nor the drugs investigated, changed the CD4/CD8 ratio of activated (CD25 + ) cells. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that psoriasis may be induced by activated T lymphocytes, and indicate that novel immunomodulatory drugs can serve to inhibit the pathogenetic ability of immunocytes in psoriasis.
 
IL-2 mRNA levels are increased in CD4+CD25+ cells from the skin-draining lymph nodes of mice topically treated with 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. The expression of 84 mRNAs in CD4+CD25+ cells from the SDLNs of BALB/c mice treated topically 24 (a) or 96 (b) hours earlier with vehicle or 125 ng 1,25(OH)2D3 (vitD) was assessed using the Th1-Th2-Th3 RT2 profiler PCR with results for nine genes shown (see also Supplementary Table S1 online) as their expression was either (i) upregulated after topical 1,25(OH)2D3 treatment or (ii) previously associated with regulatory T-cell function. In (c), fold increase in mRNA for IL-2, IL-10, TGFβ, and Foxp3 in CD4+CD25+ cells 96 hours after topical 1,25(OH)2D3 treatment was detected using in-house real-time PCR assays. Results are for three independent experiments (mean+SEM, *P<0.05).
IL-2 mRNA levels are increased in CD4 þ CD25 þ cells from the skin-draining lymph nodes of mice topically treated with 1,25dihydroxyvitamin D 3. The expression of 84 mRNAs in CD4 þ CD25 þ cells from the SDLNs of BALB/c mice treated topically 24 (a) or 96 (b) hours earlier with vehicle or 125 ng 1,25(OH) 2 D 3 (vitD) was assessed using the Th1-Th2-Th3 RT 2 profiler PCR with results for nine genes shown (see also Supplementary Table S1 online) as their expression was either (i) upregulated after topical 1,25(OH) 2 D 3 treatment or (ii) previously associated with regulatory T-cell function. In (c), fold increase in mRNA for IL-2, IL-10, TGFb, and Foxp3 in CD4 þ CD25 þ cells 96 hours after topical 1,25(OH) 2 D 3 treatment was detected using in-house real-time PCR assays. Results are for three independent experiments (mean þ SEM, *Po0.05). 
Vitamin D may be responsible for reducing the development and severity of autoimmune and allergic diseases. Topically applied 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) (1,25(OH)(2)D(3)) enhances the immunoregulatory ability of CD4+CD25+ T cells residing in the skin-draining lymph nodes (SDLNs) of mice. The mechanisms responsible were investigated by examining the expression of 84 cytokine and cytokine-related genes in a 96-well gene array. CD4+CD25+ cells isolated from the SDLNs of BALB/c mice, 24 and 96  hours after topical treatment with 1,25(OH)(2)D(3), consistently expressed increased IL-2 mRNA levels and also secreted enhanced quantities of IL-2 after ex vivo stimulation with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate and ionomycin. CD4+CD25+ cells from the lymph nodes of naive mice constitutively express the vitamin D receptor, allowing direct modulation by 1,25(OH)(2)D(3). However, in vitro treatment with 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) did not modify the expression of 84 tested cytokine and cytokine-related mRNAs. It was only in the presence of IL-2 that 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) increased the expression of genes including IL-2 and TLR4. Further, 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) enhanced the ability of IL-2 to stimulate CD4+CD25+ cells to proliferate in vitro and also regulate contact hypersensitivity responses on adoptive transfer into naive mice. Therefore, 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) enabled by IL-2 can directly enhance the regulatory potential of CD4+CD25+ T cells to control immune disease.
 
We have used a whole-organ culture system to investigate the effects of 1,25(OH)2D3 on human hair follicle growth and hair fiber production. Relatively low concentrations (1-10 nM) of 1,25(OH)2D3 stimulated the cumulative growth of hair follicles and hair fibers, by 52% and 36%, respectively (concentration producing 50% of the maximal response [EC50] values of 0.3 nM). The initial rates of follicle and fiber growth were increased, whereas the respective growth periods were unaffected. At higher concentrations of 1,25(OH)2D3, there was a dose-dependent inhibition of both follicle and fiber growth (IC50 values of 100 nM), in part due to reduction in the growth periods. There was a marked delay between the onset of 1,25(OH)2D-induced hair follicle and hair fiber growth inhibition. Incubation of hair follicles with 100 nM 1,25(OH)2D3 resulted in a rapid, transient inhibition of DNA synthesis (55% inhibition at 24 h), followed by a gradual return to control levels at day 4. Prolonged (> 5 h), incubation in the presence of 100 nM of 1,25 (OH)2D3 was required for follicle growth inhibition to be manifest. Ro 31-7549, a selective inhibitor of protein kinase C, did not prevent 1,25(OH)2D3-induced inhibition of hair follicle growth. These data suggest that 1,25(OH)2D3 may play a physiologic role in maintaining optimal hair follicle activity, and that elevation of 1,25(OH)2D3 may inhibit hair growth in vivo.
 
1,25(OH) 2 D 3 increases involucrin mRNA and protein levels. Second passage keratinocytes were grown in 0.03 mM calcium for 4 d at which point the indicated concentrations of 1,25(OH) 2 D 3 or vehicle (1% 
Involucrin is a major protein of the cornified envelope of keratinocytes that provides much of the structural integrity of skin. Its expression is stimulated by a number of agents including calcium and 1,25-dihydroxy-vitamin D3 that promote the differentiation process in keratinocytes. Within the distal regulatory region of the involucrin promoter lies an AP-1 site and an element homologous to other vitamin D response elements. In previous studies mutation of the AP-1 site was found to reduce basal activity and block calcium stimulation of the involucrin promoter, whereas the vitamin D response element was not critical for calcium regulation. In this study both elements proved to be important for 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 stimulation of the involucrin promoter. Mutation of the AP-1 site reduced basal activity and blocked 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 stimulation of the involucrin promoter. In contrast, mutation of the vitamin D response element did not reduce basal expression of the involucrin promoter or prevent calcium stimulation of involucrin gene expression, but blocked 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 stimulation. The vitamin D response element from the involucrin gene bound the vitamin D receptor and the retinoid X receptor, but not the retinoic acid receptor, in a specific manner. We conclude that the AP-1 site and the vitamin D response element in the involucrin promoter play important roles in mediating the action of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 on involucrin expression, but the vitamin D response element provides specificity for the 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 response lacking at the AP-1 site.
 
1alpha,25(OH)2D3 and its analogs are potent mediators of keratinocyte differentiation in vitro. The precise mechanism of this action is still unknown. The nuclear transcription factor activator protein 1 seems to play an important role in keratinocyte differentiation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of 1alpha,25(OH)2D3 on activator protein 1 DNA binding activity in cultured human keratinocytes. In a time-course study of human keratinocytes incubated with 1alpha,25(OH)2D3 (10-7-10-11 M) a significant dose-dependent increase in activator protein 1 DNA binding activity as determined by electrophoretic mobility shift assay was seen after 36 h. This increase was followed by a significant dose-dependent decrease in activator protein 1 DNA binding activity after 72 h. When differentiation was induced by raising the calcium concentration in the culture medium from 0.09 to 0.3 mM a similar increase in activator protein 1 DNA binding activity was observed after incubation for 48 h. Pharmacologic down-modulation of the protein kinase C activity with GF 109203X reversed the calcium-induced increase in activator protein 1 DNA binding activity and abolished keratinocyte differentiation as determined by a transglutaminase assay. In contrast, activator protein 1 DNA binding activity and keratinocyte differentiation were not affected when protein kinase C activity was down-modulated in the experiments with 1alpha,25(OH)2D3. The activator protein 1 complex in human keratinocytes consists of dimers of Fra-1, Fra-2, c-Jun, JunD, and c-Fos. Our results demonstrate that 1alpha, 25(OH)2D3- and calcium-induced keratinocyte differentiation are accompanied by changes in activator protein 1 DNA binding activity. Protein kinase C activation appears to be essential for the calcium-dependent induction of keratinocyte differentiation, whereas a protein-kinase-C-independent activation of activator protein 1 DNA binding and keratinocyte differentiation is responsible for the 1alpha,25(OH)2D3-induced effects.
 
We have previously reported the establishment of a culture system of hamster auricular sebocytes. Although their morphologic and biochemical properties are very similar to those of human sebocytes, the regulation of lipogenesis is not clear. Therefore, we investigated the effect of epidermal growth factor, all-trans retinoic acid, 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, and androgens such as testosterone and 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone on lipogenesis in cultured hamster sebocytes. Intracellular lipid droplets detected with Oil-Red-O staining were observed in 5 d cultures and increased in a time-dependent manner; 40.7% +/- 1.11% of 2 wk cultured cells tested lipid-positive by flow cytometric analysis. When the hamster sebocytes were cultured in the presence of epidermal growth factor, all-trans retinoic acid, or 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, the intracellular lipid droplets were diminished by all-trans retinoic acid and epidermal growth factor, and slightly by 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. The intracellular lipid droplets consisted mainly of triglycerides (71.8%) and, as minor components, cholesterol (18.0%), wax esters (3.6%), and free fatty acids (6.6%). Epidermal growth factor and all-trans retinoic acid decreased the intracellular accumulation of triglycerides (92.6% and 96.1% inhibition, respectively) and free fatty acids (54.3% and 62.6% inhibition, respectively) in the sebocytes. In addition, 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 decreased the triglyceride level (34.3% inhibition), but augmented the accumulation of wax esters (30% increase). There was no difference in the level of cholesterol as a result of these treatments, however. In contrast, 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone augmented the formation of intracellular lipid droplets along with an increase in the accumulation of triglycerides in hamster sebocytes. Our findings that regulation of lipogenesis by all-trans retinoic acid and androgen in hamster sebocytes is identical to regulation in humans suggest that hamster sebocytes are useful for the elucidation of sebaceous function at the cellular level. Furthermore, this is the first evidence that epidermal growth factor and 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 may act as suppressors in the regulation of lipogenesis in hamster sebocytes in vitro.
 
SRC3 expression is localized to skin layers that express 1,25D3-dependent innate defense genes. Differential localization of DRIP205 (a) and SRC3 (b) in the epidermis. Human adult skin sections were incubated with antibodies against DRIP205 and SRC3, and the signals were visualized with biotinylated secondary antibody and NBT/BCIP staining (purple/blue color). The nuclei were counterstained with nuclear fast red (pink color; DRIP205 and SRC3). DRIP localizes to nuclei in the basal and suprabasal layer, whereas SRC3 is expressed in differentiated keratinocytes in the outmost epidermis. (c and d) Corresponding sections stained with the respective preimmune control antibodies. Bar=35 M.
Hormonally active vitamin D(3)-1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) (1,25D3)-acts as a signaling molecule in cutaneous immunity by increasing pattern recognition through Toll-like receptor-2 (TLR2), and increasing the expression and function of antimicrobial peptides. Here we show that the actions of 1,25D3 on keratinocyte innate immune responses are influenced by histone acetylation and require the steroid receptor coactivator 3 (SRC3), which mediates inherent histone acetyltransferase (HAT) activity. SRC3 was detected in the suprabasal and granular layer of the skin, similar to cathelicidin expression. HAT activity was important to keratinocyte cathelicidin expression as the combination of histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) (butyrate or trichostatin A) and 1,25D3 increased cathelicidin and CD14 expression and enhanced the antimicrobial function of keratinocytes against Staphylococcus aureus. This treatment, or activation of TLR2, also directly increased acetylation of histone 4. Small interfering RNA silencing of the vitamin D receptor or SRC3 blocked the induction of cathelicidin and CD14 by 1,25D3. HDACi could not reverse this effect or influence cathelicidin in the absence of 1,25D3, suggesting that both are necessary for function. These studies demonstrate that the epigenetic control of gene transcription by histone acetylation is important for 1,25D3-regulated antimicrobial and TLR function of keratinocytes, essential elements of the innate immune response of the skin.
 
1,25(OH)2D3 and NO inhibitors L-NMMA and aminoguanidine, added after UVR induce a reduction in TDs. Keratinocytes were irradiated in buffer solution. 1,25(OH)2D3 or vehicle in medium was added to quadruplicate wells after irradiation whereas others received L-NMMA (1.28 mM) or aminoguanidine (2 mM). Cells were incubated in the above solutions for 3 hours post-UVR after which immunohistochemistry was performed. The number of positively stained nuclei for TD as a % of the total nuclei was calculated using light microscopy and image analysis. Significant differences compared to vehicle with Student's t-test are: **P<0.01, *P<0.05.
Vitamin D is produced in skin by UVB radiation (290-320 nm) acting on 7-dehydrocholesterol. The hypotheses that the active vitamin D hormone, 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3), would increase the survival of skin cells after UV irradiation and that surviving cells after 1,25(OH)2D3 treatment would have no increase in DNA damage were tested. The survival of keratinocytes post-UVR was significantly greater after treatment with 1,25(OH)2D3 compared to vehicle (P<0.01). Significant reductions in thymine dimers (TDs) in surviving keratinocytes after UVR were noted in the presence of 1,25(OH)2D3 (P<0.001). Nuclear p53 protein expression increased after UVR and was significantly higher in keratinocytes treated with 1,25(OH)2D3 (P<0.01), whereas NO products were significantly reduced (P<0.05). Both the increase in nuclear accumulation of p53 protein and reduced formation of nitric oxide products may contribute to the reduction in TDs seen with 1,25(OH)2D3 after UVR. Reductions in numbers of sunburn cells (P<0.01) and in TDs (P<0.05) were observed 24 hours after UVR in skin sections from Skh:hr1 mice treated with 1,25(OH)2D3. These results are consistent with the proposal that the vitamin D system in skin may be part of an intrinsic protective mechanism against UV damage.
 
Keratinocytes produce large amounts of 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3) in vitro. 1,25(OH)2D3 is detectable in anephric humans and pigs and can be increased to near-normal levels by vitamin D or 250HD, indicating an extrarenal source. To determine whether the skin is one of these extrarenal sources, we perfused isolated flaps of porcine skin for 8 h with 250HD3 in serum-free medium at 1 ml/min, collecting the venous effluent as 15-min samples. The samples were extracted and the vitamin D metabolites purified by high-performance liquid chromatography and assayed by competitive protein-binding techniques. Production of 1,25(OH)2D3 continued for the duration of the perfusion, tending to increase in the last 2 hours. The amount of 1,25(OH)2D3 produced varied both with time in the same pig skin and between pig skins; maximum production of 1,25(OH)2D3 in these experiments was 8 pg/min. 24,25(OH)2D3 production was higher than 1,25(OH)2D3 production, reaching a maximum rate of 180 pg/min. Considering that the production rate of 1,25(OH)2D3 in humans is 1.25 ng/min and that a 48-cm2 skin flap represents 1/350 the surface area of a human, and assuming that human and pig skin make 1,25(OH)2D3 at comparable rates, one can determine that the skin has the potential to maintain near-normal levels of 1,25(OH)2D3 in the absence of kidneys when provided with adequate substrate.
 
Calcium enhances keratinocyte differentiation, and 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3) is both antiproliferative and prodifferentiative in many cell types, including normal human keratinocytes. In the present study, we examined the combined effects of calcium and 1,25(OH)2D3 on parameters of growth and differentiation and on c-fos and p53 gene expression in normal human keratinocytes. Exposure of normal human keratinocytes to 1,25(OH)2D3 markedly reduced [³H] thymidine incorporation and cell number at low and high medium Ca⁺⁺ concentrations. Simultaneously, cells in the G0/G1 phase of the cell cycle increased significantly and those in the S phase fell precipitously. l,25(OH)2D3 and calcium also induced keratinocyte differentiation independently, as assessed by iminuno- cytochemistry and by induction of involucrin mRNA. Both Ca⁺⁺ and 1,25(OH)2D3 were shown, by nuclear run-on assays, to increase involucrin gene transcription. A rapid, transient elevation in c-fos protooncogene expression preceded these effects when epidermal growth factor was present alone. When 1,25(OH)2D3 was added to quiescent keratinocytes, there was a marked augmentation of c-fos mRNA accumulation at low and high medium Ca⁺⁺ concentrations. Varying medium Ca⁺⁺ concentrations had no effect on c-fos mRNA levels. Increasing medium Ca⁺⁺ concentrations from 0.15 to 2.0mM produced marked elevations of p53 mRNA accumulation and of the rate of p53 gene transcription, whereas 1,25(OH)2D3 had no effect. These results, therefore, suggest that 1,25(OH)2D3 and calcium act in concert to modulate the expression of two important cell-cycle-associated genes, which may be important components in the initial programming of growth and differentiation of normal human keratinocytes.
 
The active metabolite of vitamin D3, 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D], is produced by normal human keratinocytes (NKC) and regulates their differentiation. Squamous carcinoma cell (SCC) lines lack the ability to differentiate in vitro, which might involve defective 1,25(OH)2D synthesis or response. To address this possibility we obtained four SCC lines (12F2, 12B2, 25, and A431) and first determined whether they could produce 1,25(OH)2D from its substrate 25 hydroxyvitamin D3 (250HD). All could (12F2 greater than NKC greater than 25 greater than 12B2 greater than A431). Furthermore, exogenously added 1,25(OH)2D inhibited 1,25(OH)2D production and stimulated 24,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3 [24,25(OH)2D] production in all cell lines but with different potency (25 = A431 greater than NKC greater than 12B2 greater than 12F2). Cellular binding studies suggested that the high-affinity binding site for 1,25(OH)2D in NKC is not found in 12F2 and 12B2. When the effect of 1,25(OH)2D on differentiation was determined, only NKC responded with an increase in cornified envelope formation, although some of the cell lines responded to the proliferative [at low 1,25(OH)2D concentration] or antiproliferative [at high 1,25(OH)2D concentration] effect of 1,25(OH)2D. Thus, although SCC lines synthesize 1,25(OH)2D and respond to exogenous 1,25(OH)2D with respect to appropriate regulation of endogenous 250HD metabolism, these cell lines fail to respond to the differentiating influence of this vitamin D metabolite.
 
1,25(OH)2D has numerous actions on many tissues. Analogs of 1,25(OH)2D are being sought that are selective, to further an understanding of the mechanisms of action of 1,25(OH)2D and to improve its therapeutic efficacy. Toward these ends we examined eight analogs of 1,25(OH)2D for their ability to regulate 25OHD metabolism by keratinocytes. Choosing the three most potent, we then examined their ability to inhibit keratinocyte proliferation, stimulate cornified envelope formation (a marker of differentiation), and bind to the 1,25(OH)2D receptor (VDR). 1,25(OH)2-24F2-D, 1,25(OH)2-delta 16-D, and 1,25(OH)2-delta 16,23yne-D proved the most potent in inhibiting 1,25(OH)2D production and stimulating 24,25(OH)2D production, being approximately 10-100 times more potent than 1,25(OH)2D itself. 1,25(OH)2-delta 16-D had the highest affinity for the VDR (fourfold higher than that for 1,25(OH)2D itself) and had the greatest ability both to inhibit proliferation and to stimulate differentiation. 1,25(OH)2-delta 16,23yne-D also had a higher affinity for the VDR but was of less or equal potency in stimulating cornified envelope formation and inhibiting proliferation. 1,25(OH)2-24F2-D, which was the most potent regulator of 25OHD metabolism, had a lower affinity for the VDR and was less potent than 1,25(OH)2D in inhibiting proliferation. Our results indicate that even in the same cell different analogs have different rank orders of potency for the various actions of 1,25(OH)2D.
 
The effects of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 on the differentiation of immature melanocyte precursors were studied. The NCC-/melb4 cell line is an immature melanocyte cell line established from mouse neural crest cells. 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 inhibited the growth of NCC-/melb4 cells at concentrations higher than 10(-8) m. That growth inhibition was accompanied by the induction of tyrosinase and a change in L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine reactivity from negative to positive. Electron microscopy demonstrated that melanosomes were in more advanced stages after 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 treatment. In primary cultures of murine neural crest cells, L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine-positive cells were increased after 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 treatment. These findings indicate that 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 stimulates the differentiation of immature melanocyte precursors. Moreover, immunostaining and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed that endothelin B receptor expression was induced in NCC-/melb4 cells following treatment with 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. The induction of endothelin B receptor by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 was also demonstrated in neural crest cell primary cultures, but not in mature melanocytes. The expression of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor was induced in NCC-/melb4 cells treated with 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 and endothelin 3, but not by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 alone, suggesting that endothelin 3 may stimulate the expression of the microphthalmia-associated transcription factor gene after binding to the endothelin B receptor induced by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. These findings suggest a regulatory role for vitamin D3 in melanocyte development and melanogenesis, and may also explain the working mechanism of vitamin D3 in the treatment of vitiligo.
 
We have previously shown that keratinocytes in vitro can convert biologically inactive vitamin D3 to the hormone calcitriol (1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3). This study was initiated to test whether the ultraviolet-B-induced photolysis of provitamin D3 (7-dehydrocholesterol), which results in the formation of vitamin D3, can generate calcitriol in an in vivo-like human skin equivalent model made of fibroblasts in a collagen matrix as the dermal component and keratinocytes as the epidermal component. Cultures were preincubated with increasing concentrations of 7-dehydrocholesterol (0.53-5.94 nmol per cm2 human skin equivalent) at 37 degrees C and irradiated with monochromatic ultraviolet B at wavelengths ranging from 285 to 315 nm (effective ultraviolet doses 7.5-45 mJ per cm2). In our in vitro model irradiation with ultraviolet B resulted in a sequential metabolic process with generation of previtamin D3 followed by the time-dependent formation of vitamin D3, 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, and ultimately calcitriol in the femtomolar range. Unirradiated cultures and irradiated cultures without keratinocytes generated no calcitriol. Irradiation of skin equivalents at wavelengths > 315 nm generated no or only trace amounts of calcitriol. The ultraviolet-B-triggered conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol to calcitriol was strongly inhibited by ketoconazole indicating the involvement of P450 mixed function oxidases. The amount of calcitriol generated was dependent on the 7-dehydrocholesterol concentration, on wavelength, and on ultraviolet B dose. Hence, keratinocytes in the presence of physiologic concentrations of 7-dehydrocholesterol and irradiated with therapeutic doses of ultraviolet B may be a potential source of biologically active calcitriol within the epidermis.
 
Squamous carcinoma cells (SCC) fail to differentiate under conditions that are favorable for the growth and differentiation of normal human keratinocytes. Human keratinocytes differentiate from a highly proliferative basal cell to a terminally differentiated cornified cell in culture in the presence of physiological levels of extracellular calcium. 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25[OH]2D3) potentiates this process. Previous studies have shown that the differentiation process in keratinocytes is associated with increased expression of the genes for involucrin and transglutaminase, the products of which participate in cornified envelope formation. The mRNA for involucrin and transglutaminase was not detected in the SCC lines studied (viz. SCC4, 12B2, 12F2, A431, and HACAT) when they were grown in serum free medium. Addition of at least 2% fetal bovine serum for 48 h triggered the expression of these genes, which could then be maintained in the absence of serum. Serum was not required for induction of these genes in keratinocytes. In these cells, 1,25(OH)2D3 stimulated the expression of involucrin and transglutaminase in a concentration-dependent manner, while the SCC lines failed to respond to 1,25(OH)2D3 regardless of whether these cells had been pre-exposed to serum. An important factor that mediates 1,25(OH)2D3-stimulated gene expression is the vitamin D receptor, but vitamin D receptor mRNA levels in all the SCC lines examined were comparable to those in keratinocytes. Furthermore, the vitamin D receptor protein levels in SCC lines as assessed by ligand-binding analysis were comparable to those of keratinocytes. Thus, the mediators of 1,25(OH)2D3 action on gene expression other than the vitamin D receptor may be missing or defective in SCC lines, whereas the mediators of as yet undefined agents in serum may be better expressed in SCC lines than in keratinocytes. Our results indicate that, although SCC lines are capable of expressing the genes for the proteins involved in differentiation, the control of the expression of these genes by 1,25(OH)2D3 is abnormal in SCC despite the presence of a functional vitamin D receptor in concentrations equivalent to those in keratinocytes.
 
1alpha,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 added to human keratinocytes increases differentiation through an activation of the transcription factor activator protein 1. We have previously reported that the 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3-induced increase of activator protein 1 DNA binding activity is mediated by a protein kinase C-independent mechanism. The purpose of this study was to investigate further the mechanisms by which 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 modulates activator protein 1 DNA binding activity in cultured normal human keratinocytes. Western blotting experiments revealed that 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 caused a rapid and transient activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinases, extracellular signal regulated kinase 1/2 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1. 1alpha,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 also enhanced the expression of the activator protein 1 subunits, c-Fos, Fra1, and c-Jun as determined by northern and western blotting. The 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3-induced activator protein 1 DNA binding activity was completely blocked by the MEK inhibitor PD 98059 indicating that the MEK/extracellular signal regulated kinase pathway is involved in the activation of activator protein 1. Transfection experiments showed that 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 also increased the activator protein 1-dependent transactivation, which was completely blocked by expression of a dominant negative Ras, suggesting that the 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3-induced activator protein 1 activity involves Ras-dependent signaling. Furthermore, preincubation of the keratinocytes with the specific phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitors, Wortmannin and LY294002, demonstrated that the 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3-induced activation of extracellular signal regulated kinase 1/2 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1 required phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activity. Finally, preincubation of keratinocytes with a polyclonal antibody against the membrane receptor annexin II, blocked the 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3-induced activation of extracellular signal regulated kinase 1/2 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1. Taken together, our results indicate that 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, via binding to the membrane receptor annexin II, induces activation of the phos-phatidylinositol 3-kinase/Ras/MEK/extracellular signal regulated kinase 1/2 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1 signal transduction pathway resulting in increased expression of c-Fos, Fra1, and c-Jun, and subsequently increased activator protein 1 DNA binding activity and gene transcription.
 
Top-cited authors
Rich Gallo
  • University of California, San Diego
Irwin McLean
  • University of Dundee
Peter Michael Elias
  • University of California, San Francisco
Michelle Lowes
  • The Rockefeller University
Chris E Griffiths
  • The University of Manchester