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Research Article

Expression and modulation of nerve growth factor in murine keratinocytes (PAM 212).

V A Tron, M D Coughlin, D E Jang, J Stanisz and D N Sauder

Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Published April 1990

Nerve growth factor (NGF) is a polypeptide that is required for normal development and maintenance of the sympathetic and sensory nervous systems. Skin has been shown to contain relatively high amounts of NGF, which is in keeping with the finding that the quantity of NGF in a tissue is proportional to the extent of sympathetic innervation of that organ. Since the keratinocyte, a major cellular constituent of the skin, is known to produce other growth factors and cytokines, our experiments were designed to determine whether keratinocytes are a source of NGF. Keratinocyte-conditioned media from the keratinocyte cell line PAM 212 contained NGF-like activity, approximately 2-3 ng/ml, as detected by the neurite outgrowth assay. Freshly isolated BALB/c keratinocytes contained approximately 0.1 ng/ml. Using a cDNA probe directed against NGF, we demonstrated the presence of a 1.3-kb NGF mRNA in both PAM 212 and BALB/c keratinocytes. Since ultraviolet radiation (UV) is a potentially important modulating factor for cytokines in skin, we examined the effect of UV on NGF mRNA expression. Although UV initially inhibited the expression of keratinocyte NGF mRNA (4 h), by 24 h an induction of NGF mRNA was seen. The NGF signal could also be induced by phorbol esters. Thus, keratinocytes synthesize and express NGF, and its expression is modulated by UVB and phorbol esters.

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