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Mech Dev. 2005 Jun;122(6):805-19. Epub 2005 Apr 21.

Delayed epidermal permeability barrier formation and hair follicle aberrations in Inv-Cldn6 mice.

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Development Program, Ottawa Health Research Institute, 725 Parkdale Ave., Ottawa, Ont., Canada K1Y 4E9.


Homozygous mice overexpressing Claudin-6 (Cldn6) exhibit a perturbation in the epidermal differentiation program leading to a defective epidermal permeability barrier (EPB) and dehydration induced death ensuing within 48 h of birth [Turksen, K., Troy, T.C., 2002. Permeability barrier dysfunction in transgenic mice overexpressing claudin 6. Development 129, 1775-1784]. Their heterozygous counterparts are also born with an incomplete EPB; however, barrier formation continues after birth and normal hydration levels are achieved by postnatal day 12 allowing survival into adulthood. Heterozygous Inv-Cldn6 mice exhibit a distinct coat phenotype and histological analysis shows mild epidermal hyperkeratosis. Expression of K5 and K14 is aberrant, extending beyond the basal layer into the suprabasal layer where they are not co-localized suggesting that their expression is uncoupled. There is also atypical K17 and patchy K15 expression in the basal layer with no K6 expression in the interfollicular epidermis; together with marked changes in late differentiation markers (e.g. profilaggrin/filaggrin, loricrin, transglutaminase 3) indicating that the normal epidermal differentiation program is modified. The expression compartment of various Cldns is also perturbed although overall protein levels remained comparable. Most notably induction of Cldn5 and Cldn8 was observed in the Inv-Cldn6 epidermis. Heterozygous Inv-Cldn6 animals also exhibit subtle alterations in the differentiation program of the hair follicle including a shorter anagen phase, and altered hair type distribution and length compared to the wild type; the approximately 20% increase in zig-zag hair fibers at the expense of guard hairs and the approximately 30% shorter guard hairs contribute to coat abnormalities in the heterozygous mice. In addition, the transgenic hair follicles exhibit a decreased expression of K15 as well as some hair-specific keratins and express Cldn5 and Cldn18, which are not detectable in the wild type. These data indicate that Cldn6 plays a role in the differentiation processes of the epidermis and hair follicle and supports the notion of a link between Cldn regulation and EPB assembly/maintenance as well as the hair cycle.

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