Trypsin induces epidermal proliferation and inflammation in murine skin


U. Meyer-Hoffert, Department of Dermatology,
University Kiel,
7, D-24105 Kiel, Germany
Tel.: +49 431 5971512
Fax: +49 431 5974074


Abstract:  Human keratinocytes are known to express the protease-activated receptors, PAR-1 and PAR-2. Activation of PAR-1 results in increased proliferation, whereas PAR-2 activation results in decreased keratinocyte proliferation. Trypsin activates PAR-1 and in higher concentrations, PAR-2. The aim of this study was to evaluate the overall effect of trypsin on keratinocyte proliferation in a mouse in vivo and in vitro model. Daily topical application of 0.3–300 pmol trypsin/cm2 on hairless mouse skin induced dose-dependent epidermal hyperproliferation as determined by an increase in 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine incorporation of up to eight-fold in basal keratinocytes and an up to three-fold increase in keratinocyte layers. This was accompanied by an increased transepidermal water loss. These effects of trypsin were abolished by the addition of the trypsin inhibitor n-p-tosyl-l-lysine-chloromethyl ketone. Histological analysis revealed acanthosis, hypergranulosis, and spongiosis in the epidermis as well as vasodilatation and an inflammatory infiltrate in the upper dermis. In the murine keratinocyte cell line PAM-212 activation of PAR-1 with specific activating peptides resulted in a calcium influx and an increase of proliferation, whereas activation of PAR-2 caused a diminished proliferation. Incubation with trypsin, PAR-1-, and PAR-2-activating peptides induced cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant (KC) mRNA expression as a marker for inflammation in PAM-212 in a dose-dependent manner. In conclusion, our results suggest that trypsin induces in vivo epidermal proliferation and inflammation. Proliferation seems not to be signaled by PAR activation, but PAR-2-induced KC chemokine expression may contribute in part to trypsin-induced inflammation.