Skin grafting has been evolving as an important application in reconstructive surgery. Mixed reports about the survival of allogeneic and xenogeneic keratinocytes require further substantiation to determine the role of these cells in wound healing.
Prominent skin involvement is a defining characteristic of autoinflammatory disorders caused by abnormal IL-1 signaling. However, the pathways and cell types that drive cutaneous autoinflammatory features remain poorly understood. We sought to address this issue by investigating the pathogenesis of pustular psoriasis, a model of autoinflammatory disorders with predominant cutaneous manifestations. We specifically characterized the impact of mutations affecting AP1S3, a disease gene previously identified by our group and validated here in a newly ascertained patient resource. We first showed that AP1S3 expression is distinctively elevated in keratinocytes. Because AP1S3 encodes a protein implicated in autophagosome formation, we next investigated the effects of gene silencing on this pathway. We found that AP1S3 knockout disrupts keratinocyte autophagy, causing abnormal accumulation of p62, an adaptor protein mediating NF-κB activation. We showed that as a consequence, AP1S3-deficient cells up-regulate IL-1 signaling and overexpress IL-36α, a cytokine that is emerging as an important mediator of skin inflammation. These abnormal immune profiles were recapitulated by pharmacological inhibition of autophagy and verified in patient keratinocytes, where they were reversed by IL-36 blockade. These findings show that keratinocytes play a key role in skin autoinflammation and identify autophagy modulation of IL-36 signaling as a therapeutic target.
Advances in tissue engineering led to the development of various tissue-engineered skin substitutes (TESS) for the treatment of skin injuries. The majority of the autologous TESS required lengthy and costly cell expansion process to fabricate. In this study, we determine the possibility of using a low density of human skin cells suspended in platelet-rich plasma (PRP)-enriched medium to promote the healing of full-thickness skin wounds. To achieve this, full-thickness wounds of size 1.767 cm2 were created at the dorsum part of nude mice and treated with keratinocytes (2 × 104 cells/cm2) and fibroblasts (3 × 104 cells/cm2) suspended in 10% PRP-enriched medium. Wound examination was conducted weekly and the animals were euthanized after 2 weeks. Gross examination showed that re-epithelialization was fastest in the PRP+cells group at both day 7 and 14, followed by the PRP group and NT group receiving no treatment. Only the PRP+cells group achieved complete wound closure by 2 weeks. Epidermal layer was presence in the central region of the wound of the PRP+cells and PRP groups but absence in the NT group. Comparison between the PRP+cells and PRP groups showed that the PRP+cells-treated wound was more mature as indicated by the presence of thinner epidermis with single cell layer thick basal keratinocytes and less cellular dermis. In summary, the combination of low cell density and diluted PRP creates a synergistic effect which expedites the healing of full-thickness wounds. This combination has the potential to be developed as a rapid wound therapy via the direct application of freshly harvested skin cells in diluted PRP.
The interrelationship between malignant epithelium and the underlying stroma is of fundamental importance in tumour development and progression. In the present study, we used cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) derived from genetically unstable oral squamous cell carcinomas (GU-OSCC), tumours that are characterized by the loss of genes such as TP53 and p16INK4A and with extensive loss of heterozygosity, together with CAFs from their more genetically stable (GS) counterparts that have wild-type TP53 and p16INK4A and minimal loss of heterozygosity (GS-OSCC). Using a systems biology approach to interpret the genome-wide transcriptional profile of the CAFs, we show that transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) family members not only had biological relevance in silico but also distinguished GU-OSCC-derived CAFs from GS-OSCC CAFs and fibroblasts from normal oral mucosa. In view of the close association between TGF-β family members, we examined the expression of TGF-β1 and TGF-β2 in the different fibroblast subtypes and showed increased levels of active TGF-β1 and TGF-β2 in CAFs from GU-OSCC. CAFs from GU-OSCC, but not GS-OSCC or normal fibroblasts, induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition and down-regulated a broad spectrum of cell adhesion molecules resulting in epithelial dis-cohesion and invasion of target keratinocytes in vitro in a TGF-β-dependent manner. The results demonstrate that the TGF-β family of cytokines secreted by CAFs derived from genotype-specific oral cancer (GU-OSCC) promote, at least in part, the malignant phenotype by weakening intercellular epithelial adhesion.
To study ROCK2 activation in carcinogenesis, mice expressing 4-hydroxytamoxifen (4HT)-activated ROCK2 (K14.ROCK(er)) were crossed with mice expressing epidermal-activated ras(Ha) (HK1.ras(1205)). At 8 weeks, 4HT-treated K14.ROCK(er)/HK1.ras(1205) cohorts exhibited papillomas similar to HK1.ras(1205) controls; however, K14.ROCK(er)/HK1.ras(1205) histotypes comprised a mixed papilloma/well-differentiated squamous cell carcinoma (wdSCC), exhibiting p53 loss, increased proliferation and novel NF-κB expression. By 12 weeks, K14.ROCK(er)/HK1.ras(1205) wdSCCs exhibited increased NF-κB and novel tenascin C, indicative of elevated rigidity; yet despite continued ROCK2 activities/p-Mypt1 inactivation, progression to SCC required loss of compensatory p21 expression. K14.ROCK(er)/HK1.ras(1205) papillomatogenesis also required a wound promotion stimulus, confirmed by breeding K14.ROCK(er) into promotion-insensitive HK1.ras(1276) mice, suggesting a permissive K14.ROCK(er)/HK1.ras(1205) papilloma context (wound-promoted/NF-κB(+)/p53(-)/p21(+)) preceded K14.ROCK(er)-mediated (p-Mypt1/tenascin C/rigidity) malignant conversion. Malignancy depended on ROCK(er)/p-Mypt1 expression, as cessation of 4HT treatment induced disorganized tissue architecture and p21-associated differentiation in wdSCCs; yet tenascin C retention in connective tissue extracellular matrix suggests the rigidity laid down for conversion persists. Novel papilloma outgrowths appeared expressing intense, basal layer p21 that confined endogenous ROCK2/p-Mypt1/NF-κB to supra-basal layers, and was paralleled by restored basal layer p53. In later SCCs, 4HT cessation became irrelevant as endogenous ROCK2 expression increased, driving progression via p21 loss, elevated NF-κB expression and tenascin C-associated rigidity, with p-Mypt1 inactivation/actinomyosin-mediated contractility to facilitate invasion. However, p21-associated inhibition of early-stage malignant progression and the intense expression in papilloma outgrowths, identifies a novel, significant antagonism between p21 and ras(Ha)/ROCK2/NF-κB signalling in skin carcinogenesis. Collectively, these data show that ROCK2 activation induces malignancy in ras(Ha)-initiated/promoted papillomas in the context of p53 loss and novel NF-κB expression, whereas increased tissue rigidity and cell motility/contractility help mediate tumour progression.
Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are carbon-based nanomaterials that possess immense industrial potential. Despite accumulating evidence that exposure to SWCNTs might be toxic to humans, our understanding of the mechanisms for cellular toxicity of SWCNTs remain limited. Here, we demonstrated that acute exposure of short (1-3μm) and regular-length (5-30μm) pristine, carboxylated or hydroxylated SWCNTs inhibited cell proliferation in human somatic and human stem cells in a cell type-dependent manner. The toxicity of regular-length pristine SWCNT was most evidenced in NP69>CYT00086>MCF-10A>MRC-5>HaCaT > HEK-293T>HepG2. In contrast, the short pristine SWCNTs were relatively less toxic in most of the cells being tested, except for NP69 which is more sensitive to short pristine SWCNTs as compared to regular-length pristine SWCNTs. Interestingly, carboxylation and hydroxylation of regular-length SWCNTs, but not the short SWCNTs, significantly reduced the cytotoxicity. Exposure of SWCNTs also induced caspase 3 and 9 activities, mitochondrial membrane depolarization, and significant apoptosis and necrosis in MRC-5 embryonic lung fibroblasts. In contrast, SWCNTs inhibited the proliferation of HaCaT human keratinocytes without inducing cell death. Further analyses by gene expression profiling and Connectivity Map analysis showed that SWCNTs induced a gene expression signature characteristic of heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) inhibition in MRC-5 cells, suggesting that SWCNTs may inhibit the HSP90 signaling pathway. Indeed, exposure of MRC-5 cells to SWCNTs results in a dose-dependent decrease in HSP90 client proteins (AKT, CDK4 and BCL2) and a concomitant increase in HSP70 expression. In addition, SWCNTs also significantly inhibited HSP90-dependent protein refolding. Finally, we showed that ectopic expression of HSP90, but not HSP40 or HSP70, completely abrogated the cytotoxic effects of SWCNTs, suggesting that SWCNT-induced cellular toxicity is HSP90 dependent. In summary, our findings suggest that the toxic effects of SWCNTs are mediated through inhibition of HSP90 in human lung fibroblasts and keratinocytes.