RANTES expression in psoriatic skin, and regulation of RANTES and IL-8 production in cultured epidermal keratinocytes by active vitamin D3 (tacalcitol)


MasamiFukuoka Teijin Institute for Bio-Medical Research, 4-3-2 Asahigaoka, Hino, Tokyo 191, Japan. email: hko27199@token1.teijin.co.jp


The chemokine RANTES is a chemoattractant for eosinophils, T lymphocytes of memory phenotype and monocytes, suggesting that it plays an important part in chronic inflammatory and allergic diseases. In various types of cells, RANTES production is markedly induced by tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interferon (IFN)-γ in combination. Psoriasis vulgaris is a chronic cutaneous inflammatory disease. Cytokines and chemokines produced by T cells and epidermal keratinocytes, such as interleukin (IL) 8, are involved in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. T-cell clones obtained from psoriatic skin have been shown to produce the Th1 cytokine IFN-γ. In addition, abnormal expression of proinflammatory cytokines including TNF-α has been observed in psoriatic lesions. These reports led us to hypothesis that psoriatic skin could provide epidermal keratinocytes with TNF-α and IFN-γ, so that keratinocytes could produce RANTES. In this study, we addressed the question as to whether RANTES was involved in psoriasis vulgaris. Immunohistochemistry of skin biopsies showed RANTES was present in the intercellular spaces between epidermal keratinocytes, in the fully developed lesions from the middle to the edge of psoriatic plaques, but not in the perilesional uninvolved and healthy control skin. Further, we confirmed the production of RANTES, together with IL-8, by cultured normal human epidermal keratinocytes, using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Stimulation with TNF-α and IFN-γ in combination synergistically increased the RANTES production in this system. These results clearly demonstrate the expression of RANTES in psoriatic lesions and suggest the involvement of this chemokine in the outcome of cutaneous inflammatory diseases. Tacalcitol (1α,24(R)-dihydroxyvitamin D3), an active vitamin D3 analogue, inhibited RANTES and IL-8 production in cultured normal epidermal keratinocytes. This result indicates that active vitamin D3 is effective in the regulation of chemokine production by epidermal keratinocytes, which may partly account for its action as an antipsoriatic drug.