The inflammatory response of keratinocytes and its modulation by vitamin D: The role of MAPK signaling pathways

Mor Miodovnik, Ruth Koren, Esther Ziv, Amiram Ravid*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hormonal form of vitamin D, calcitriol, and its analogs are known for their beneficial effect in the treatment of inflammatory skin disorders. Keratinocytes play a role in epidermal inflammatory responses invoked by breeching of the epidermal barrier, by infectious agents and by infiltrating immune cells. We studied the role of calcitriol in the initiation of keratinocyte inflammatory response by the viral and injury mimic polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly(I:C)) and in its maintenance by tumor-necrosis-factor α (TNFα) and investigated the role of the mitogen-activated protein kinase cascades in these processes and their regulation by calcitriol. The inflammatory response of human HaCaT keratinocytes to poly(I:C) or TNFα was assessed by measuring mRNA levels of 13 inflammation-related molecules by real-time PCR microarray and by in-depth investigation of the regulation of interleukin 8, intercellular-adhesion-molecule 1, and TNFα expression. We found that while calcitriol had only a minor effect on the keratinocyte response to poly(I:C) and a modest effect on the early response (2h) to TNFα, it markedly attenuated the later response (16-24h) to TNFα. The expression of CYP27B1, the enzyme responsible for calcitriol production, was marginally increased by poly(I:C) and markedly by TNFα treatment. This pattern suggests that while allowing the initial keratinocyte inflammatory response to proceed, calcitriol contributes to its timely resolution. Using pharmacological inhibitors we found that while the p38 MAPK and the extracellular signal-regulated kinase have only a minor role, c-Jun N-terminal kinase plays a pivotal role in the induction of the pro-inflammatory genes and its modulation by calcitriol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2175-2183
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012


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