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Endogenous prostaglandin E2 modulates calcium-induced differentiation in human skin keratinocytes.

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Department of Dermatology, University of California, San Francisco.


The concentration of extracellular calcium appears critical to the initiation of keratinocyte differentiation. Prostaglandins (PGs) have also been implicated in cell differentiation. Consequently, the participation of endogenous eicosanoids in calcium-induced differentiation of human keratinocytes was evaluated in vitro. Our results demonstrate that: (1) exogenously introduced PGE2, the major keratinocyte-derived eicosanoid, but not prostaglandin I2 (PGI2) or its stable metabolite 6-keto-PGF1 alpha, enhances calcium-induced cornified envelope formation, an established marker of keratinocyte differentiation; (2) increasing extracellular calcium increased endogenous PGE2 synthesis by cultured keratinocytes; (3) blocking endogenous PGE2 synthesis with indomethacin significantly suppresses calcium-induced formation of the cornified envelope; and (4) adding back PGE2 to indomethacin-treated keratinocytes is able to re-establish the control level of cornified envelope formation following stimulation by calcium. These data document the participation of endogenously generated PGE2 in the modulation of calcium-induced differentiation by human keratinocytes.

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