Please cite this paper as: T-lymphocyte-induced, fas-mediated apoptosis is associated with early keratinocyte differentiation. Experimental Dermatology 2009.
Abstract: The development of eczematous lesions is thought to be due in part to a breakdown in skin barrier function as a result of T lymphocytes (T cells) invading the skin causing epidermal keratinocyte apoptosis. In this study, we investigated the interaction of T cells and keratinocytes on apoptosis and terminal differentiation using an in vitro co-culture system. Experiments were performed using the HaCaT keratinocyte cell line or normal human epidermal keratinocytes. Activated human peripheral blood-derived T cells were found to induce Fas-dependent keratinocyte apoptosis by up to sixfold. Increased Fas was associated with increased IFN-γ. The T-cell apoptotic signal was found to target preferentially keratinocytes in the very early stages of terminal differentiation, such as those with low levels of α6-integrin expression, and result in subsequent increased caspase 3 activity. This observation was accompanied by a marked increase in keratinocyte ICAM-1 expression and its ligand LFA-1 on T cells. Our data suggest that T cells may initiate the onset of keratinocyte terminal differentiation making them more susceptible to Fas-dependent cell death signals delivered by the T cells.