Author(s): Radtke C, Rennekampff HO, Reimers K, Vogt PM, Kocsis JD
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Abstract In the absence of skin innervation, wound healing is delayed and chronic nonhealing wounds may occur. Keratinocytes produce neurotrophic factors, such as nerve growth factor (NGF), which has been suggested to attract primary cutaneous afferent axons and exert mitogenic effects on keratinocytes. The present study was performed to examine the interaction of primary human keratinocytes (hKTs) and rat cutaneous primary afferent dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons with regard to neuritic outgrowth and keratinocyte proliferation. Neuritic outgrowth was assessed with neurofilament immunostaining where cell bodies and fine neuritic processes were identified. Neuritic outgrowth of neurons alone in culture is spatially random and radial. Neurites in cocultures of DRG neurons insinuated between the hKTs and grew to "clumps" of hKTs within the cultures. Immunostaining with anti-NGF antibody indicates that hKTs expressed the neurotrophin NGF. Proliferation of keratinocytes was significantly enhanced in coculture with DRG and hKT, and NGF levels were increased as compared to DRG or hKT culture alone. These results indicate a dynamic interaction between DRG neurons and hKTs whereby the DRG neurons issue neurites in association with hKTs and the hKTs up-regulate NGF and increase their proliferation rate. These findings support the hypothesis that nerve-skin interactions play a significant role in wound healing.
This article was published in Ann Plast Surg
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research