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Biochem J. Jan 15, 1996; 313(Pt 2): 625–631.
PMCID: PMC1216953

Granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor is an intrinsic keratinocyte-derived growth factor for human melanocytes in UVA-induced melanosis.


Recently we demonstrated that endothelins secreted from human keratinocytes act as intrinsic mitogens and melanogens for human melanocytes in UVB-induced melanosis. We show here that UVA-induced melanosis is associated with other keratinocyte-derived growth factors, secretion of which is specifically stimulated after exposure of human keratinocytes to UVA. Medium conditioned by UVA-exposed human keratinocytes elicited a significant increase in DNA synthesis by cultured human melanocytes in a UVA dose-dependent manner. Analysis of endothelin-1 and interleukin (IL)-1 alpha in the conditioned medium by ELISA, both of which are major keratinocyte-derived cytokines involved in UVB-associated melanocyte activation, revealed that UVA exposure did not cause human keratinocytes to stimulate the secretion of the two cytokines. In contrast, the levels of several other cytokines such as IL-6, IL-8 and granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) were significantly increased in the conditioned medium of human keratinocytes after exposure to UVA at a dose of 1.0 J/cm2. The gel chromatographic profile of UVA-exposed keratinocyte-conditioned medium demonstrated that there were two factors (P-1 and P-2) with molecular masses of approx. 20 and 1 kDa respectively that stimulate DNA synthesis in human melanocytes, and the larger species (P-1) also increased melanization as assessed by [14C]thiouracil incorporation. Quantitative analysis of cytokines in chromatographic fractions by ELISA revealed the P-1 fraction to be consistent with the molecular mass profile of GM-CSF. Furthermore the stimulatory effect of the P-1 fraction on DNA synthesis in human melanocytes was neutralized by antibodies to GM-CSF, but not to basic fibroblast growth factor or stem cell factor. Binding and proliferation assays with recombinant GM-CSF demonstrated that human melanocytes possess specific binding sites for GM-CSF(Kd 2.11 nM; binding sites, 2.5-3.5 x 10(4) per cell), and recombinant GM-CSF at concentrations of more than 10 nM significantly stimulated DNA synthesis and melanization. These findings suggest that GM-CSF secreted by keratinocytes plays an essential role in the maintenance of melanocyte proliferation and UVA-induced pigmentation in the epidermis.

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Selected References

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