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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Transglutaminase inhibitors induce hyperproliferation and parakeratosis in tissue-engineered skin.

Background The transglutaminase (TG) family consists of eight distinct isoforms. TG types 1, 3 and 5 play a major role in normal skin development, with TG2 also being elevated during dermal wounding. TG1, 3 and 5 are responsible for the cross-linking of keratin precursors and formation of the cornified envelope during keratinocyte differentiation. TG2 may play a role in keratinocyte basement membrane cross-linking. Abnormal TG expression has been demonstrated in Darier disease, Netherton syndrome, psoriasis and lamellar ichthyosis. During a recent investigation of skin contraction in tissue-engineered skin, transglutaminase inhibitors were found to produce hyperproliferation and parakeratosis. Objectives Accordingly, this study was designed to study the effect of pan-transglutaminase inhibition on morphology of tissue-engineered skin and expression of keratinocyte differentiation and proliferation-associated antigens. Methods We used a tissue-engineered model of human skin, based on de-epidermized acellular human dermis, seeded with normal keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts and cultured at an air-liquid interface. The pan-transglutaminase inhibitors putrescine, NTU283 (1-dimethyl,2-[(oxopropyl)thio]imidazolium) and NTU285 (N-benzyloxycarbonyl-l-glutaminyl-6-dimethylsulfonium-5-oxo-l-norleucine) were added to the culture medium. After 28 days, histology and immunohistochemistry for collagen IV, involucrin and cytokeratins 6, 10 and 16 were performed. Results Keratinocyte hyperproliferation and parakeratosis were seen in response to transglutaminase inhibition. Inhibition of transglutaminase also resulted in loss of basement membrane collagen IV. Involucrin and cytokeratins 6 and 16 were confined to the basal layers in control composites but expressed throughout the epidermis in response to transglutaminase inhibition. A distinct band of expression of cytokeratin 10 was seen in the upper stratum granulosum of control composites but only patchy expression was seen after transglutaminase expression. Conclusions Pan-transglutaminase inhibition inhibits terminal differentiation of keratinocytes, leading to a hyperproliferative epidermis with parakeratosis and enhanced expression of involucrin and cytokeratins 6 and 16. Expression of the differentiation-associated cytokeratin, cytokeratin 10, is reduced. Basement membrane integrity is also lost as a result of transglutaminase inhibition.[1]


  1. Transglutaminase inhibitors induce hyperproliferation and parakeratosis in tissue-engineered skin. Harrison, C.A., Layton, C.M., Hau, Z., Bullock, A.J., Johnson, T.S., Macneil, S. Br. J. Dermatol. (2007) [Pubmed]
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