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J Invest Dermatol. 1999 Apr;112(4):483-8.

Regulation of keratin 9 in nonpalmoplantar keratinocytes by palmoplantar fibroblasts through epithelial-mesenchymal interactions.

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Department of Dermatology, Osaka University Medical School, Yamadaoka, Suita-shi, Japan.


Palms and soles differ from other body sites in terms of clinical and histologic appearance, response to mechanical stress, and the distribution of keratin 9. Because keratin 9 is exclusively expressed in the palmoplantar suprabasal keratinocyte layers, it is considered a differentiation marker of palms and soles. We studied palmoplantar mesenchymal influences on keratin 9 induction in nonpalmoplantar epidermis. Although palmoplantar keratinocytes when cultured alone continued to express keratin 9 mRNA in 12 (100%) of 12 cultures, nonpalmoplantar keratinocytes did not express it in 16 of 17 cultures. Although nonpalmoplantar keratinocytes did not express keratin 9 mRNA when cultured with nonpalmoplantar fibroblasts, they did express it within 2 h in cocultures with palmoplantar fibroblasts derived from papillary dermis. Grafting of these coculture sheets on severe combined immunodeficient mice resulted in an epidermis, which histologically showed hyperkeratosis and acanthosis and immunohistochemically expressed keratin 9. Furthermore, pure epidermal sheets from nonpalmoplantar skin grafted on the human sole wounds due to burn, injury, and the resection of acral lentiginous melanoma, demonstrated adoption of palmoplantar phenotype and expressed keratin 9. Our report indicates extrinsic keratin 9 regulation by signals from dermal fibroblasts. This is also the first to suggest the possibility of treating palmoplantar wounds with nonpalmoplantar epidermis, which is much easier to obtain and harvest.

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