Neuropeptides released from the cutaneous sensory nerve endings have neurotransmitter and immunoregulatory roles; they exert mitogenic actions and can influence the functions of different cell types in the skin. The aims of this study were a systematic investigation of the effects of the neuropeptides substance P (SP), calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) and galanin (GAL) on the inflammatory cytokine production (IL-1α, IL-8 and TNF-α) of the keratinocytes, and a study of their role in the production and secretion of nerve growth factor (NGF) and its precursor molecule (proNGF). Cultures of normal human keratinocytes were treated with 10-8 M SP, CGRP, VIP or GAL for 30 min. After different time intervals, cells were harvested for total RNA isolation; in addition, cell lysates and supernatants were collected. The effects of the neuropeptides on the mRNA expressions of the different cytokines and NGF were investigated by Q-RT-PCR and the protein levels were studied by means of ELISA assays and Western blotting. Each of the four neuropeptides induced increases in the expressions of IL-1α, IL-8 and TNF-α mRNA. Increases appeared in the amount of the IL-1α protein in the supernatants of neuropeptide-treated cells, and the IL-8 secretion was mildly elevated, while secretion of TNF-α remained undetectable. The four neuropeptides increased the NGF mRNA expression to different extents. In the cell lysates of the keratinocytes, only proNGF could be detected, its concentration in the neuropeptide-treated cells being approximately twice that in the time-matched controls. Both control cultures and neuropeptide-treated cultures were found to secrete proNGF and mature NGF, but neuropeptide-treated cell cultures produced markedly higher (3-7-fold) amounts of NGF-like immunoreactive materials. The results demonstrated that neuropeptides released from cutaneous nerves after an injurious stimulus are able to induce an upregulation of IL-1α and IL-8 production; they are additionally able to influence the expressions of proNGF/NGF and their secretion from the keratinocytes. These findings may contribute toward an understanding of the neural influence on skin health and disease.
- Inflammatory cytokines
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience