Recent studies suggest a role for autophagy in the secretion of IL-1 cytokines regulating the development of inflammatory diseases. The antimalarial drug and autophagy/lysosome inhibitor chloroquine (CHQ) is considered as potential trigger of drug-induced or drug-aggravated psoriasis, in which Th17 cells sustain a persistent inflammation. In this study, we investigated the effect of CHQ on human monocyte-derived Langerhans-like cells (MoLC) and dendritic cells (MoDC) in response to IL-1?. The presence of CHQ reduced IL-12p70 release in both subsets, but surprisingly increased IL-6 production in MoDC and IL-23 in MoLC. Importantly, CHQ-treated MoLC promoted IL-17A secretion by CD4(+) T cells and elevated RORC mRNA levels, whereas IFN-? release was reduced. The dysregulation of IL-12 family cytokines in MoLC and MoDC occurred at the transcriptional level. Similar effects were obtained with other late autophagy inhibitors, whereas PI3K inhibitor 3-methyladenine failed to increase IL-23 secretion. The modulated cytokine release was dependent on IL-1 cytokine activation and abrogated by a specific IL-1R antagonist. CHQ elevated expression of TNFR-associated factor 6, a common intermediate in IL-1R and TLR-dependent signaling. Accordingly, treatment with Pam3CSK4 and CHQ enhanced IL-23 release in MoLC and MoDC. CHQ inhibited autophagic flux, confirmed by increased LC3-II and p62 expression, and activated ERK, p38, and JNK MAPK, but only inhibition of p38 abrogated IL-23 release by MoLC. Thus, our findings indicate that CHQ modulates cytokine release in a p38-dependent manner, suggesting an essential role of Langerhans cells and dendritic cells in CHQ-provoked psoriasis, possibly by promoting Th17 immunity.
Cationic antimicrobial peptides are ancient natural broad-spectrum antibiotics, and several compounds also exhibit anticancer activity. However, most applications pertain to bacterial infections, and treatment for skin cancer is less frequently considered. The cytotoxicity of melittin, cecropin A, protegrin-1 and histatin 5 against squamous skin cancer cell lines and normal human keratinocytes was evaluated and compared to established drugs. The results show that melittin clearly outperforms 5-fluorouracil regarding antitumor activity. Importantly, combined melittin and 5-fluorouracil enhanced cytotoxic effects on cancer cells and reduced toxicity on normal keratinocytes. Additionally, minimum inhibitory concentrations indicate that melittin also shows superior activity against clinical and laboratory strains of Candida albicans compared to amphotericin B. To evaluate its potential for topical applications, human skin penetration of melittin was investigated ex vivo and compared to two non-toxic cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs), low molecular weight protamine (LMWP) and penetratin. The stratum corneum prevents penetration into viable epidermis over 6 h; however, the peptides gain access to the viable skin after 24 h. Inhibition of digestive enzymes during skin penetration significantly enhances the availability of intact peptide. In conclusion, melittin may represent an innovative agent for non-melanoma skin cancer and infectious skin diseases. In order to develop a drug candidate, skin absorption and proteolytic digestion by skin enzymes need to be addressed.
The aim of this study was to assess a recently established 3D model of congenital ichthyosis, representing severe epidermal barrier function defects, for skin penetration and permeation. We have generated disease models by knock-down of either TGM1 or ALOXE3 in primary human keratinocytes, and using keratinocytes and fibroblasts from patients with congenital ichthyosis. The results indicate disturbed barrier function as demonstrated by increased permeation of testosterone and caffeine particularly in TGM1 knock-down models compared to control models. In addition, enhanced penetration of the model dye nile red incorporated into solid lipid nanoparticles and core-multishell nanotransporters, respectively, was evident in disease models. Thus, in vitro skin disease models reproduce differences in barrier permeability and function seen in congenital ichthyosis and pave the way to personalised disease models. Furthermore, our findings indicate that nanocarriers may be useful in new, topical therapeutic approaches for the currently very limited treatment of congenital ichthyosis.
The specific function of human skin resident DC subsets in the regulation of immunity or tolerance is still a matter of debate. Langerhans cells (LC) induce anti-viral immune responses but, conversely to dermal DC (DDC), maintain tolerance to bacteria. However, the definite function of epidermal LC and cutaneous DC appears even more complex under inflammatory conditions. Here we investigated the immune responses of human immature monocyte-derived DC (MoDC) and LC-like cells (MoLC) upon stimulation with different TLR ligands in the presence or absence of pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-? and IL-1?. In MoDC, bacterial antigens selectively upregulated CD83 and CD86 expression and induced the release of Th1 and Th17 cytokines and led to a higher CCR7-dependent migratory capacity compared to a low responsiveness of MoLC. Importantly, MoLC activation with LPS under inflammatory conditions strongly enhanced a phenotypically mature state, increased IL-12p70, IL-23 and IL-6 production and Th1 cytokine secretion by CD4(+) T cells. Treatment with poly(I:C) specifically upregulated surface expression of co-stimulatory molecules and increased release of IL-12p70 in MoLC and costimulation with TNF-? and IL-1? further elevated Th1 and Th17 cytokine production. Poly(I:C)-induced upregulation of type I IFN mRNA levels in MoLC and MoDC was TLR3 dependent but not or weakly modulated by pro-inflammatory cytokines. Our results indicate that inflammatory conditions greatly facilitate recognition of bacteria by MoLC. Furthermore, we suggest a critical involvement of both subsets in innate defence against viruses, whereas inflammatory skin environments additionally favour MoLC as potent inducers of Th1 and Th17 cytokines. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Dermal fibroblasts are important regulators of inflammatory and immune responses in the skin. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the interaction between two key players in inflammation, Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P), in normal human fibroblasts in the context of inflammation, fibrosis and cell migration. We demonstrate that TLR2 ligation strongly enhances the production of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-8. S1P significantly induces pro-inflammatory cytokines time- and concentration-dependently via S1P receptor (S1PR)2 and S1PR3. The TLR2/1 agonist Pam3CSK4 and S1P (>1?M) or TGF-? markedly upregulate IL-6 and IL-8 secretion. Pam3CSK4 and S1P alone promote myofibroblast differentiation as assessed by significant increases of ?-smooth muscle actin and collagen I expression. Importantly, costimulation with S1P (>1?M) induces differentiation into myofibroblasts. In contrast, Pam3CSK4 and low S1P concentrations (<1?M) accelerate cell migration. These results suggest that TLR2/1 signaling and S1P cooperate in pro-inflammatory cytokine production and myofibroblast differentiation and promote cell migration of skin fibroblasts in a S1P-concentration dependent manner. Our findings provide significant insights into how infectious stimuli or danger signals and sphingolipids contribute to dermal inflammation which may be relevant for skin tissue repair after injury or disease.
Topical glucocorticoids (GCs) are extensively used in the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases. However, their long-term use is often accompanied by severe and eventually irreversible adverse effects, with atrophy being the most important limitation. Currently, most non-clinical studies involve animal testing, so the results are not always representative of the situation in humans. The aim of this project was to establish an in vitro test protocol for the evaluation of the anti-inflammatory and atrophic potential of topically applied GCs in reconstructed human skin. Initial studies with fibroblasts and keratinocytes confirmed the anti-inflammatory and atrophogenic effects of GCs, as evidenced by decreased cytokine production and collagen mRNA expression. In non-pretreated reconstructed human skin (EpiDermFT™), the topical application of GCs for seven days strongly reduced the secretion of interleukin (IL)-6. GC-induced skin atrophy, known to appear only after prolonged treatment, was not detected by the analysis of epidermal thickness and collagen mRNA expression. However, reproducible epidermal inflammation was established for the first time in reconstructed human skin. Topical treatment with tumour necrosis factor (TNF) increased IL-6 release and strongly reduced epidermal thickness accompanied by severe parakeratosis. GC treatment of reconstructed human skin reduced IL-6 levels and completely resolved parakeratosis, leading to the normalisation of epidermal thickness. These induced inflammatory conditions mimic more closely the clinical situations in which GCs are used, and therefore appear to be more suitable for future investigations for the establishment of a human-based in vitro test protocol for evaluating wanted and unwanted GC effects.
The mucosal epithelium is of central importance in host defence and immune surveillance, as it is the primary cell layer that initially encounters environmental microorganisms. Induction of antifungal innate immune responses depends on recognition of fungal components by host pattern recognition receptors. Members of the Toll-like receptor family have emerged as key sensors that recognize fungal pathogens and trigger defence responses. During oral infection with the fungal pathogen Candida albicans, a large number of cytokines is secreted by oral epithelial cells, which in turn activate myeloid cells in the submucosal layers to clear the invading pathogen. Recent data provide novel insights into the complex molecular mechanisms of innate immune responses initiated by cooperation between epithelial cells and neutrophils. In this review, we discuss the role of epithelial TLRs and how the immunological crosstalk between C. albicans-infected oral epithelium and neutrophils protects the mucosal surface from fungal invasion and cell injury.
The glycosylphosphatidylinositol-modified protein Rhd3/Pga29 of the human pathogen Candida albicans belongs to a family of cell wall proteins that are widespread among Candida species but are not found in other fungi. Pga29 is covalently linked to the beta-1,3-glucan framework of the cell wall via beta-1,6-glucan. It is a small and abundant O-glycosylated protein and requires the protein-O-mannosyl transferase Pmt1 for glycosylation. Furthermore, Pga29 is strongly expressed in yeast cells but is downregulated in hyphae. Removal of the PGA29 gene in C. albicans leads to a significant reduction of cell wall mannan; however, Pga29 does not seem to have a major role in maintaining cell wall integrity. In addition, adhesion capacity and hyphae formation appear normal in pga29 deletion mutants. Importantly, the pga29 deletion mutant is less virulent, and infection of reconstituted human epithelium with the pga29 mutant results in a diminished induction of proinflammatory cytokines, such as GM-CSF, TNF, IL-6 and IL-8. We propose that the reduced virulence of the pga29 mutant is a consequence of altered surface properties, resulting in altered fungal recognition.
For efficient pain reduction in severe skin wounds, topically applied opioids may be a new option. Moreover, by stimulating keratinocyte migration opioids may also accelerate wound healing. Yet, conventional formulations failed to consistently provide sufficient pain control in patients which may be due to local drug degradation or insufficient concentrations at the target site. After having excluded major morphine glucuronidation by keratinocytes and fibroblasts, we next aimed for an optimised formulation. Since long intervals for painful wound dressing changes are intended, the formulations should allow for prolonged opioid release and should not impair the healing process. We developed morphine-loaded solid lipid nanoparticles (SLN, mean size about 180 nm), and tested improvement of wound closure in a new human-based 3D-wound healing model. Standardised wounds were induced by CO(2)-laser irradiation of reconstructed human full-thickness skin equivalents (EpiDermFT). Morphine, morphine-loaded and unloaded SLN accelerated reepithelialization. Keratinocytes almost completely covered the dermis equivalent after 4 days, which was not the case when applying the vehicle. In conclusion, acceleration of wound closure, low cytotoxicity and irritation as well as possible prolonged morphine release make SLN an interesting approach for innovative wound management.
Antimycotic nail lacquers are effective and safe for the treatment of onychomycosis. To assess the efficacy of three topical agents we studied the minimum inhibitory and fungicidal concentration of amorolfine, bifonazole and ciclopiroxolamine. Amorolfine showed the most effective fungistatic and fungicidal activity in vitro against seven clinical Trichophyton rubrum nail isolates, followed in descending order by ciclopiroxolamine and bifonazole. To mimic a nail infection more appropriately, the nail minimum fungicidal concentration (Nail-MFC) was determined in an onychomycosis model. Amorolfine and ciclopiroxolamine had Nail-MFCs ranging from 2-32 microg/ml and 16-32 microg/ml, respectively. In contrast, bifonazole was unable to kill T. rubrum in this model. Statistical analyses of the results show a significant difference between the two treatments with amorolfine and ciclopiroxolamine (P<0.001). For amorolfine a mean concentration of 12.28 microg/ml (95%-CI=[8.66, 17.41]) was sufficient to kill all strains, while for ciclopiroxolamine about twice that concentration was needed, i.e., 24.13 microg/ml (95%-CI=[17.06, 34.13]). The individual sensitivity of six of the seven T. rubrum strains was higher for amorolfine. These data demonstrate that both amorolfine and ciclopiroxolamine effectively kill T. rubrum growing on nail powder and suggest a better cidal action for amorolfine. Further investigation would be required to determine if these in vitro data can partially explain the clinical observation of significantly higher cure rates in onychomycosis following a therapy with an amorolfine-containing nail lacquer formulation.
For efficient pain reduction in severe skin wounds, topical opioids may be a new option - given that wound healing is not impaired and the vehicle allows for slow opioid release, since long intervals of painful wound dressing changes are intended. We investigated the influence of opioids on the wound healing process via in vitro models, migration assay and scratch test. In fact, morphine, hydromorphone, fentanyl and buprenorphine increased the number of migrated HaCaT cells (spontaneously transformed keratinocytes) twofold. In the scratch test, morphine accelerated the closure of a monolayer wound (scratch). As possible slow release application forms are nanoparticulate systems like solid lipid nanoparticles (SLN) and dendritic core-multishell (CMS) nanotransporters, we evaluated the effect of unloaded nanoparticles on HaCaT cell migration, too. CMS nanotransporters did not inhibit migration, SLN even enhanced it (twofold). Applying morphine plus unloaded nanoparticles reduced morphine effects possibly due to uptake into CMS nanotransporters and adsorption to the surface of SLN. In contrast to SLN, TGF-beta1 was taken up by CMS nanotransporters, too. Both nanoparticles are tolerable by skin and eye as derived from Episkin-SM(TM) skin irritation test and HET-CAM assay. No acute toxic effects were observed either. In conclusion, opioids as well as the investigated nanoparticulate carriers conform the essential conditions for topical pain reduction.
This protocol describes the setup, maintenance, and characteristics of models of oral and vaginal candidiasis based on well-established three-dimensional organotypic tissues of human oral and vaginal mucosa. Infection experiments are highly reproducible and can be used for the direct analysis of pathogen/epithelial cell interactions. Using the models, the several stages of infection by wild-type Candida albicans strains, the consequence of gene disruption of putative virulence factors in mutant cells, and the evaluation of the host immune response can be evaluated by histologic, biochemical, and molecular methods. As such, the models provide clear answers regarding protein and gene expression that are not complicated by nonepithelial factors. To study the impact of several host components, the mucosal infection models can be supplemented with immune cells, saliva, and probiotic bacteria, which might be relevant for host defense. It requires at least 3 days to be established and can be maintained thereafter for 2 to 4 days.
C. albicans is one of the most common fungal pathogen of humans, causing local and superficial mucosal infections in immunocompromised individuals. Given that the key structure mediating host-C. albicans interactions is the fungal cell wall, we aimed to identify features of the cell wall inducing epithelial responses and be associated with fungal pathogenesis. We demonstrate here the importance of cell wall protein glycosylation in epithelial immune activation with a predominant role for the highly branched N-glycosylation residues. Moreover, these glycan moieties induce growth arrest and apoptosis of epithelial cells. Using an in vitro model of oral candidosis we demonstrate, that apoptosis induction by C. albicans wild-type occurs in early stage of infection and strongly depends on intact cell wall protein glycosylation. These novel findings demonstrate that glycosylation of the C. albicans cell wall proteins appears essential for modulation of epithelial immunity and apoptosis induction, both of which may promote fungal pathogenesis in vivo.
Reconstructed human epidermis (RHE) is used in non-animal testing for hazard analysis and reconstructed human skin (RHS) gains growing interest in preclinical drug development. RHE and RHS have been characterised regarding their barrier function, but knowledge about biotransformation capacity in these constructs and in human skin remains rather poor. However, metabolising enzymes can be highly relevant for the efficacy of topical dermatics as well as genotoxicity and sensitisation. We have compared the esteratic cleavage of the prednisolone diester prednicarbate and the enzyme kinetic parameters (Vmax and S0.5) of the model substrate fluorescein diacetate (FDA) in commercially available RHS and RHE with excised human skin and monolayer cultures of normal and immortalised human keratinocytes and of fibroblasts. Formation of the main metabolite prednisolone and of fluorescein ranked as: RHS~RHE>excised human skin and keratinocytes>fibroblasts, respectively. Because of the aromatic probe, however, Vmax of FDA cleavage did not show a linear relationship with prednicarbate metabolism. In conclusion, RHE and RHS may be useful to quantitatively address esterase activity of human skin in drug development and hazard analysis, although an increased activity compared to native human skin has to be taken into account.
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