Epidermal-dermal interaction plays important roles in physiological events such as wound healing. In this study, we examined a double paracrine mechanism between keratinocytes and fibroblasts through interleukin-1 (IL-1) and an IL-1-induced inflammatory mediator prostaglandin E₂ (PGE₂) using the skin equivalent. The epidermal layer of the skin equivalent expressed high levels of IL-1α mRNA (IL1A mRNA) and relatively low levels of IL-1β mRNA (IL1B mRNA). IL1A mRNA was not detected in fibroblasts. Fibroblasts also expressed low but not negligible levels of IL1B mRNA only in the presence of keratinocytes. Expression of prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 mRNA (PTGS2 mRNA) and production of PGE₂ in three-dimensionally cultured fibroblasts were noticeably stimulated by co-culture with keratinocytes, whereas PTGS2 mRNA expression in the epidermal layer was very low. In addition, hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase 15-(NAD) mRNA was highly expressed in keratinocytes but not in fibroblasts, and exogenous IL-1β stimulated PTGS2 mRNA expression in the dermal equivalent. The thickness of the epidermal layer and the number of MKI67-positive keratinocytes in the skin equivalent were decreased by treatment with indomethacin, and the decrease recovered when exogenous PGE₂ was added. These results indicate that keratinocytes stimulate their own proliferation through a double paracrine mechanism mediated by IL-1 and PGE₂.