• CGRP;
  • Cell proliferation;
  • ERK1/2;
  • JNK;
  • p38 MAPK;
  • HaCaT keratinocytes;
  • Psoriasis


Psoriasis is a chronic disease characterized by keratinocyte hyperproliferation and inflammation. It has been demonstrated that the expression of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is elevated in psoriasis lesions and CGRP-containing neuropeptide nerve fibers are denser in the psoriatic epidermis. CGRP has been previously described to influence proliferation of several cell types, such as Schwann cell, tracheal epithelial cells, and human gingival fibroblasts. In the present study, we determined the effect of CGRP on HaCaT keratinocyte proliferation and the role of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in CGRP induced keratinocyte proliferation. Our data indicate CGRP increased [3H]-thymidine incorporation and MTT activity of HaCaT in a concentration-dependent manner. CGRP also enhanced serum-induced HaCaT cell proliferation. HaCaT cells cultured with CGRP had a significant increase in phosphorylated ERK1/2, p38 and JNK, and CGRP induced DNA synthesis was inhibited by PD 98059 or SB 203580, selective inhibitors of MAP kinase kinase (MEK, which is upstream from ERK) and p38, respectively. These findings suggest that HaCaT cell proliferate in response to CGRP, which is mediated by phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and p38 MAPK.