Scleroderma is a group of skin-fibrosing diseases for which there are no effective treatments. A feature of the skin fibrosis typical of scleroderma is atrophy of the dermal white adipose tissue (DWAT). Adipose tissue contains adipose-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (ADSCs) that have regenerative and reparative functions; however, whether DWAT atrophy in fibrosis is accompanied by ADSC loss is poorly understood, as are the mechanisms that might maintain ADSC survival in fibrotic skin. Here, we have shown that DWAT ADSC numbers were reduced, likely because of cell death, in 2 murine models of scleroderma skin fibrosis. The remaining ADSCs showed a partial dependence on dendritic cells (DCs) for survival. Lymphotoxin β (LTβ) expression in DCs maintained ADSC survival in fibrotic skin by activating an LTβ receptor/β1 integrin (LTβR/β1 integrin) pathway on ADSCs. Stimulation of LTβR augmented the engraftment of therapeutically injected ADSCs, which was associated with reductions in skin fibrosis and improved skin function. These findings provide insight into the effects of skin fibrosis on DWAT ADSCs, identify a DC-ADSC survival axis in fibrotic skin, and suggest an approach for improving mesenchymal stromal cell therapy in scleroderma and other diseases.
Jennifer J. Chia, Tong Zhu, Susan Chyou, Dragos C. Dasoveanu, Camila Carballo, Sha Tian, Cynthia M. Magro, Scott Rodeo, Robert F. Spiera, Nancy H. Ruddle, Timothy E. McGraw, Jeffrey L. Browning, Robert Lafyatis, Jessica K. Gordon, Theresa T. Lu
Interactions between the epidermis and the immune system govern epidermal tissue homeostasis. These epidermis-immune interactions are altered in the inflammatory disease psoriasis; however, the pathways that underlie this aberrant immune response are not well understood. Here, we determined that Ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate 1 (RAC1) is a key mediator of epidermal dysfunction. RAC1 activation was consistently elevated in psoriatic epidermis and primary psoriatic human keratinocytes (PHKCs) exposed to psoriasis-related stimuli, but not in skin from patients with basal or squamous cell carcinoma. Expression of a constitutively active form of RAC1 (RACV12) in mice resulted in the development of lesions similar to those of human psoriasis that required the presence of an intact immune system. RAC1V12-expressing mice and human psoriatic skin showed similar RAC1-dependent signaling as well as transcriptional overlap of differentially expressed epidermal and immune pathways. Coculture of PHKCs with immunocytes resulted in the upregulation of RAC1-dependent proinflammatory cytokines, an effect that was reproduced by overexpressing RAC1 in normal human keratinocytes. In keratinocytes, modulating RAC1 activity altered differentiation, proliferation, and inflammatory pathways, including STAT3, NFκB, and zinc finger protein 750 (ZNF750). Finally, RAC1 inhibition in xenografts composed of human PHKCs and immunocytes abolished psoriasiform hyperplasia and inflammation in vivo. These studies implicate RAC1 as a potential therapeutic target for psoriasis and as a key orchestrator of pathologic epidermis-immune interactions.
Mårten C.G. Winge, Bungo Ohyama, Clara N. Dey, Lisa M. Boxer, Wei Li, Nazanin Ehsani-Chimeh, Allison K. Truong, Diane Wu, April W. Armstrong, Teruhiko Makino, Matthew Davidson, Daniela Starcevic, Andreas Kislat, Ngon T. Nguyen, Takashi Hashimoto, Bernard Homey, Paul A. Khavari, Maria Bradley, Elizabeth A. Waterman, M. Peter Marinkovich
Palmoplantar keratoderma (PPK) are debilitating lesions that arise in individuals with pachyonychia congenita (PC) and feature upregulation of danger-associated molecular patterns and skin barrier regulators. The defining features of PC-associated PPK are reproduced in mice null for keratin 16 (
Michelle L. Kerns, Jill M.C. Hakim, Rosemary G. Lu, Yajuan Guo, Andreas Berroth, Roger L. Kaspar, Pierre A. Coulombe
Skin homeostasis is maintained by the continuous proliferation and differentiation of epidermal cells. The skin forms a strong but flexible barrier against microorganisms as well as physical and chemical insults; however, the physiological mechanisms that maintain this barrier are not fully understood. Here, we have described a mutant mouse that spontaneously develops pruritic dermatitis as the result of an initial defect in skin homeostasis that is followed by induction of a Th2-biased immune response. These mice harbor a mutation that results in a single aa substitution in the JAK1 tyrosine kinase that results in hyperactivation, thereby leading to skin serine protease overexpression and disruption of skin barrier function. Accordingly, treatment with an ointment to maintain normal skin barrier function protected mutant mice from dermatitis onset. Pharmacological inhibition of JAK1 also delayed disease onset. Together, these findings indicate that JAK1-mediated signaling cascades in skin regulate the expression of proteases associated with the maintenance of skin barrier function and demonstrate that perturbation of these pathways can lead to the development of spontaneous pruritic dermatitis.
Takuwa Yasuda, Toshiyuki Fukada, Keigo Nishida, Manabu Nakayama, Masashi Matsuda, Ikuo Miura, Teruki Dainichi, Shinji Fukuda, Kenji Kabashima, Shinji Nakaoka, Bum-Ho Bin, Masato Kubo, Hiroshi Ohno, Takanori Hasegawa, Osamu Ohara, Haruhiko Koseki, Shigeharu Wakana, Hisahiro Yoshida
Dermal infiltration of T cells is an important step in the onset and progression of immune-mediated skin diseases such as psoriasis; however, it is not known whether epidermal factors play a primary role in the development of these diseases. Here, we determined that the prodifferentiation transcription factor grainyhead-like 3 (GRHL3), which is essential during epidermal development, is dispensable for adult skin homeostasis, but required for barrier repair after adult epidermal injury. Consistent with activation of a GRHL3-regulated repair pathway in psoriasis, we found that GRHL3 is upregulated in lesional skin and binds known epidermal differentiation gene targets. Using an imiquimod-induced model of immune-mediated epidermal hyperplasia, we found that mice lacking GRHL3 have an exacerbated epidermal damage response, greater sensitivity to disease induction, delayed resolution of epidermal lesions, and resistance to anti–IL-22 therapy compared with WT animals. ChIP-Seq and gene expression profiling of murine skin revealed that while GRHL3 regulates differentiation pathways both during development and during repair from immune-mediated damage, it targets distinct sets of genes in the 2 processes. In particular, GRHL3 suppressed a number of alarmin and other proinflammatory genes after immune injury. This study identifies a GRHL3-regulated epidermal barrier repair pathway that suppresses disease initiation and helps resolve existing lesions in immune-mediated epidermal hyperplasia.
William M. Gordon, Michael D. Zeller, Rachel H. Klein, William R. Swindell, Hsiang Ho, Francisco Espetia, Johann E. Gudjonsson, Pierre F. Baldi, Bogi Andersen
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates multiple physiological processes, including cutaneous cell growth and differentiation. Here, we explored the effects of the major nonpsychotropic phytocannabinoid of
Attila Oláh, Balázs I. Tóth, István Borbíró, Koji Sugawara, Attila G. Szöllõsi, Gabriella Czifra, Balázs Pál, Lídia Ambrus, Jennifer Kloepper, Emanuela Camera, Matteo Ludovici, Mauro Picardo, Thomas Voets, Christos C. Zouboulis, Ralf Paus, Tamás Bíró
Chronic itch, or pruritus, is associated with a wide range of skin abnormalities. The mechanisms responsible for chronic itch induction and persistence remain unclear. We developed a mouse model in which a constitutively active form of the serine/threonine kinase BRAF was expressed in neurons gated by the sodium channel Nav1.8 (BRAFNav1.8 mice). We found that constitutive BRAF pathway activation in BRAFNav1.8 mice results in ectopic and enhanced expression of a cohort of itch-sensing genes, including gastrin-releasing peptide (
Zhong-Qiu Zhao, Fu-Quan Huo, Joseph Jeffry, Lori Hampton, Shadmehr Demehri, Seungil Kim, Xian-Yu Liu, Devin M. Barry, Li Wan, Zhong-Chun Liu, Hui Li, Ahu Turkoz, Kaijie Ma, Lynn A. Cornelius, Raphael Kopan, James F. Battey Jr., Jian Zhong, Zhou-Feng Chen
Retinoids are structurally related derivatives of vitamin A and are required for normal vision as well as cell proliferation and differentiation. Clinically, retinoids are effective in treating many skin disorders and cancers. Application of retinoids evokes substantial irritating side effects, including pain and inflammation; however, the precise mechanisms accounting for the sensory hypersensitivity are not understood. Here we show that both naturally occurring and synthetic retinoids activate recombinant or native transient receptor potential channel vanilloid subtype 1 (TRPV1), an irritant receptor for capsaicin, the pungent ingredient of chili peppers. In vivo, retinoids produced pain-related behaviors that were either eliminated or significantly reduced by genetic or pharmacological inhibition of TRPV1 function. These findings identify TRPV1 as an ionotropic receptor for retinoids and provide cellular and molecular insights into retinoid-evoked hypersensitivity. These findings also suggest that selective TRPV1 antagonists are potential therapeutic drugs for treating retinoid-induced sensory hypersensitivity.
Shijin Yin, Jialie Luo, Aihua Qian, Junhui Du, Qing Yang, Shentai Zhou, Weihua Yu, Guangwei Du, Richard B. Clark, Edgar T. Walters, Susan M. Carlton, Hongzhen Hu
Although a host of intracellular signals is known to contribute to wound healing, the role of the cell microenvironment in tissue repair remains elusive. Here we employed 2 different mouse models of genetic skin fragility to assess the role of the basement membrane protein collagen VII (COL7A1) in wound healing. COL7A1 secures the attachment of the epidermis to the dermis, and its mutations cause a human skin fragility disorder coined recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) that is associated with a constant wound burden. We show that COL7A1 is instrumental for skin wound closure by 2 interconnected mechanisms. First, COL7A1 was required for re-epithelialization through organization of laminin-332 at the dermal-epidermal junction. Its loss perturbs laminin-332 organization during wound healing, which in turn abrogates strictly polarized expression of integrin α6β4 in basal keratinocytes and negatively impacts the laminin-332/integrin α6β4 signaling axis guiding keratinocyte migration. Second, COL7A1 supported dermal fibroblast migration and regulates their cytokine production in the granulation tissue. These findings, which were validated in human wounds, identify COL7A1 as a critical player in physiological wound healing in humans and mice and may facilitate development of therapeutic strategies not only for RDEB, but also for other chronic wounds.
Alexander Nyström, Daniela Velati, Venugopal R. Mittapalli, Anja Fritsch, Johannes S. Kern, Leena Bruckner-Tuderman
In pemphigus vulgaris, a life-threatening autoimmune skin disease, epidermal blisters are caused by autoantibodies primarily targeting desmosomal cadherins desmoglein 3 (DSG3) and DSG1, leading to loss of keratinocyte cohesion. Due to limited insights into disease pathogenesis, current therapy relies primarily on nonspecific long-term immunosuppression. Both direct inhibition of DSG transinteraction and altered intracellular signaling by p38 MAPK likely contribute to the loss of cell adhesion. Here, we applied a tandem peptide (TP) consisting of 2 connected peptide sequences targeting the DSG adhesive interface that was capable of blocking autoantibody-mediated direct interference of DSG3 transinteraction, as revealed by atomic force microscopy and optical trapping. Importantly, TP abrogated autoantibody-mediated skin blistering in mice and was effective when applied topically. Mechanistically, TP inhibited both autoantibody-induced p38 MAPK activation and its association with DSG3, abrogated p38 MAPK-induced keratin filament retraction, and promoted desmosomal DSG3 oligomerization. These data indicate that p38 MAPK links autoantibody-mediated inhibition of DSG3 binding to skin blistering. By limiting loss of DSG3 transinteraction, p38 MAPK activation, and keratin filament retraction, which are hallmarks of pemphigus pathogenesis, TP may serve as a promising treatment option.
Volker Spindler, Vera Rötzer, Carina Dehner, Bettina Kempf, Martin Gliem, Mariya Radeva, Eva Hartlieb, Gregory S. Harms, Enno Schmidt, Jens Waschke