Impact of Nrf2 on esophagus epithelium cornification


  • Funding: We gratefully acknowledge funding from the “Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft” Pu 214/3-2, Pu 214/4-2 and Pu 214/5-2 and SFB617. This research project was also supported by the START-Program of the Faculty of Medicine, RWTH Aachen University.

  • Conflicts of interest: None.

Christoph J. Wruck, phd
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
Medical Faculty RWTH Aachen University
Wendlingweg 2 52074 Aachen


Background  Nrf2 is a transcription factor that is known to maintain cellular defense against the toxicity of electrophiles and reactive oxygen species (ROS).

Methods  We show an effect of Nrf2 deficiency on the histology of the esophagus of Nrf2 knockout mice.

Results  Quantitative analysis of esophageal cornification via hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining revealed significantly (= 0.0127) decreased stratification in Nrf2 knockout mice compared with wild-type controls. In addition, we show that Nrf2 is expressed solely in the stratum spinosum and not in the stratum basale of the epidermis. This expression pattern is exactly the same as those described for keratin K6 and K16.

Conclusions  We conclude that Nrf2 regulates the cornification of epithelia and may play a role in callus formation and wound healing of the skin, as well as in skin aging.