Receptor-mediated apoptosis is proposed as an important regulator of keratinocyte homeostasis in human epidermis. We have previously reported that Fas/FasL interactions in epidermis are altered during cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) and that keratinocyte death through apoptosis may play a pathogenic role for skin ulceration. To further investigate the alterations of apoptosis during CL, a keratinocyte cell line (HaCaT) and primary human epidermal keratinocytes were incubated with supernatants from Leishmania major-infected peripheral blood mononuclear cells. An apoptosis-specific microarray was used to assess mRNA expression in HaCaT cells exposed to supernatants derived from L. major-infected cultures. Fas and tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) mRNA and protein expression were significantly up-regulated, and apoptosis was detected in both HaCaT and human epidermal keratinocyte cells. The keratinocyte apoptosis was partly inhibited dirough blocking of Fas or FasL and even more efficiendy dirough TRAIL neutralization. Up-regulation of Fas on keratinocytes in epidermis and the presence of FasL-expressing macrophages and T cells in dermis were previously reported by us. In this study, keratinocytes expressing TRAIL, as well as the proapoptotic receptor TRAIL-R2, were detected in skin biopsies from CL cases. We propose diat activation of Fas and TRAIL apoptosis pathways, in the presence of inflammatory mediators at the site of infection, leads to tissue destruction and ulceration during CL. Copyright © American Society for Investigative Pathology.
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