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Exp Dermatol. 2009 Sep;18(9):750-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2009.00926.x. Epub 2009 Jun 23.

Osteopontin and the skin: multiple emerging roles in cutaneous biology and pathology.

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Department of Dermatology and Allergology, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany.


Osteopontin (OPN) is a glycoprotein expressed by various tissues and cells. The existence of variant forms of OPN as a secreted (sOPN) and intracellular (iOPN) protein and its modification through post-translational modification and proteolytic cleavage explain its broad range of functions. There is increasing knowledge which receptors OPN isoforms can bind to and which signaling pathways are activated to mediate different OPN functions. sOPN interacts with integrins and CD44, mediates cell adhesion, migration and tumor invasion, and has T helper 1 (Th1) cytokine functions and anti-apoptotic effects. iOPN has been described to regulate macrophage migration and interferon-alpha secretion in plasmacytoid dendritic cells. Both sOPN and iOPN, through complex functions for different dendritic cell subsets, participate in the regulation of Th cell lineages, among them Th17 cells. For skin disease, OPN from immune cells and tumor cells is of pathophysiological relevance. OPN is secreted in autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosus, and influences inflammation of immediate and delayed type allergies and granuloma formation. We describe that OPN is overexpressed in psoriasis and propose a model to study OPN function in psoriatic inflammation. Through cytokine functions, OPN supports immune responses against Mycobacteria and viruses such as herpes simplex virus. OPN is also implicated in skin tumor progression. Overexpression of OPN influences invasion and metastasis of melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma cells, and OPN expression in melanoma is a possible prognostic marker. As OPN protein preparations and anti-OPN antibodies may be available in the near future, in-depth knowledge of OPN functions may open new therapeutic approaches for skin diseases.

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