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Histol Histopathol. 2008 Jan;23(1):1-10. doi: 10.14670/HH-23.1.

Skin homeostasis during inflammation: a role for nerve growth factor.

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Department of Veterinary Morphophysiology and Animal Production (DIMORFIPA), University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.


The skin is a neuroendocrine immune organ in which many different molecules operate in autocrine-paracrine manner to guarantee tissue homeostatsis in physiological and pathophysiological conditions. In this paper we examined NGF and p75 receptor expression in the skin, during CFA induced inflammation, in a time-course study. We also examined cutaneus innervation and proliferation, by means of immunohistochemistry and quantitative image analysis, RT-PCR and Western blot. Spontaneous and evoked pain-behavior was also measured in experimental rats. The main results can be summarized as follows: 1). a peripheral sensory neuropathy develops in this condition, as indicated by thermal hyperalgesia, thus leading to a sensory denervation of the hind-paw skin as indicated by disappearance of CGRP and PGP9.5-IR fibers; 2). NGF and p75 expression (mRNA and protein) increases in the skin (keratinocytes) in the acute phase of CFA inflammation; 3). at this stage, a higher proliferative activity is observed in the skin, as defined by the expression of cell cycle-associated protein Ki67; 4). in the long-lasting chronic phase there is a further up-regulation of NFG and p75 expression in the skin; 5). trkA mRNA expression inversely correlates with p75 and NGF mRNA expression. These results suggest that CFA chronic inflammation evolves from inflammation to a small fibers sensory neuropathy and NGF seems to play a role in both events.

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