• apoptosis;
  • cellular inhibitor of apoptosis protein-2;
  • keratinocytes;
  • peptidoglycan


Colonization of epithelium by microorganisms leads to inflammatory responses. In some cases an anti-apoptotic response involving the cellular inhibitor of apoptosis protein-2 (cIAP-2) also occurs. Although strong expression of cIAP-2 has been observed in lesional skin from psoriatic patients and in HaCaT keratinocytes treated with peptidoglycan (PGN) from Staphylococcus aureus, anti-apoptotic responses induced in the skin by cIAP-2 have seldom been studied. In this study, the effect of PGN on TNF-α-induced apoptotic HaCaT keratinocytes was assessed. Morphological analysis, quantification of cells with DNA fragmentation and active caspase-3 detection was performed to assess apoptotic cell death. Greater LL-37 and cIAP-2 production was found in keratinocytes stimulated with PGN than in non-treated cells (P < 0.05). In comparison with cells treated with TNF-α only, a significant reduction in apoptotic cell death was observed when HaCaT were pretreated with PGN before inducing apoptosis with TNF-α (P < 0.05). In addition, an inhibitor of cIAP-2 activity (LCL161) stopped the PGN effect. These findings show that PGN from S. aureus has an anti-apoptotic effect in keratinocytes mediated by cIAP-2 production, suggesting that this anti-apoptotic activity could favor proliferation of keratinocytes in psoriasis.