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J Invest Dermatol. 1999 Jun;112(6):853-60.

Enhanced expression of melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1-R) in normal human keratinocytes during differentiation: evidence for increased expression of POMC peptides near suprabasal layer of epidermis.

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Department of Dermatology, Kobe University School of Medicine, Japan.


Immunohistochemical staining of human skin specimen showed the stronger localization of proopiomelanocortin peptides near the suprabasal layer of the epidermis, where keratinocytes are mostly differentiated. To test the possibilities of whether the production of proopiomelanocortin peptides or their receptor-binding activity or both is increased during differentiation of keratinocytes, we treated the cells in culture with Ca2+ to induce their differentiation. The production of proopiomelanocortin peptides and its gene expression were not induced significantly, but the binding ability of melanocortin receptor, as well as its gene expression were stimulated by Ca2+. Ultraviolet B irradiation, an inducer of differentiation, stimulated both proopiomelanocortin production and melanocortin receptor expression. These data show that normal human keratinocytes express melanocortin receptor similar to melanocytes, and that it is induced during differentiation.

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