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Br J Dermatol. 2010 Sep;163(3):466-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2010.09864.x. Epub 2010 Aug 12.

Molecular mechanism of kallikrein-related peptidase 8/neuropsin-induced hyperkeratosis in inflamed skin.

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Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, 2-2 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka, 565-0871, Japan.



Hyperkeratosis and acanthosis occur in inflamed skin. Proliferation and differentiation of keratinocytes are important processes during epidermal repair after inflammation. Neuropsin and its human homologue kallikrein-related peptidase 8 (KLK8) have been reported to be involved in epidermal proliferation and differentiation, but the involved molecular mechanisms are obscure.


To explore the molecular mechanism of KLK8/neuropsin-induced hyperkeratosis and acanthosis in inflamed skin.


The molecular mechanism involved in KLK8/neuropsin-induced hyperkeratosis and acanthosis in inflamed skin was investigated both in vivo and in vitro using neuropsin knockout mice and KLK8 knockdown human keratinocytes. Neuropsin-related genes were identified by differential gene display. The localization and functional relationship of the molecules affected downstream of KLK8/neuropsin in normal and inflamed skin were analysed by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry.


  Hyperkeratosis and acanthosis in sodium lauryl sulphate-stimulated skin were markedly inhibited in neuropsin knockout mice. Knockdown of KLK8/neuropsin increased transcription factor activator protein-2α (AP-2α) expression and decreased keratin 10 expression in human keratinocytes and mouse skin, respectively. AP-2α has been reported to inhibit epidermal proliferation and keratin 10 expression. Distributional analysis showed that KLK8/neuropsin was expressed in the stratum spinosum, AP-2α was expressed in the stratum basale and the lower part of the stratum spinosum, and keratin 10 was expressed throughout the stratum spinosum.


The above findings suggest the following mechanism of events underlying KLK8/neuropsin-induced hyperkeratosis: (i) skin inflammation increases KLK8/neuropsin expression in the stratum spinosum; (ii) the released KLK8/neuropsin inhibits AP-2α expression in the cells of the stratum basale and stratum spinosum; (iii) the decrease in AP-2α results in cell proliferation in the stratum basale and cell differentiation in the stratum spinosum, with an increase in keratin 10 expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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