Exp Dermatol 2010 Mar 2;19(3):297-301. Epub 2009 Dec 2.
Keratinocyte differentiation plays a pivotal role in the epidermal barrier. Single keratinocyte differentiation genes have already been studied, but many important constituents of this process may have been missed so far. Gene expression profiling by microarray was carried out in cultured normal human epidermal keratinocytes undergoing confluence-induced differentiation to find novel differentiation genes. Candidate gene lists were established and genes of potential dermatological interest were validated by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemical analysis. Some of these points lead to the identification of counter-regulation of heme oxygenase and biliverdin reductase as well as glutaredoxin and glutathione reductase indicative of potential novel redox signaling in differentiating human keratinocytes. Others indicate a strong concert down-regulation of interleukin-1 signaling at previously unidentified levels during keratinocyte differentiation. We believe that identified genes contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the complicated epidermal differentiation process and lead to better understanding of dermatological diseases.