PloS one

Vesicular LL-37 contributes to inflammation of the lesional skin of palmoplantar pustulosis.

PMID 25330301


"Pustulosis palmaris et plantaris", or palmoplantar pustulosis (PPP), is a chronic pustular dermatitis characterized by intraepidermal palmoplantar pustules. Although early stage vesicles (preceding the pustular phase) formed in the acrosyringium contain the antimicrobial peptides cathelicidin (hCAP-18/LL-37) and dermcidin, the details of hCAP-18/LL-37 expression in such vesicles remain unclear. The principal aim of the present study was to clarify the manner of hCAP-18/LL-37 expression in PPP vesicles and to determine whether this material contributed to subsequent inflammation of lesional skin. PPP vesicle fluid (PPP-VF) induced the expression of mRNAs encoding IL-17C, IL-8, IL-1α, and IL-1β in living skin equivalents, but the level of only IL-8 mRNA decreased significantly upon stimulation of PPP vesicle with depletion of endogenous hCAP-18/LL-37 by affinity chromatography (dep-PPP-VF). Semi-quantitative dot-blot analysis revealed higher concentrations of hCAP-18/LL-37 in PPP-VF compared to healthy sweat (2.87±0.93 µM vs. 0.09±0.09 µM). This concentration of hCAP-18/LL-37 in PPP-VF could upregulate expression of IL-17C, IL-8, IL-1α, and IL-1β at both the mRNA and protein levels. Recombinant hCAP-18 was incubated with dep-PPP-VF. Proteinase 3, which converts hCAP-18 to the active form (LL-37), was present in PPP-VF. Histopathological and immunohistochemical examination revealed that early stage vesicles contained many mononuclear cells but no polymorphonuclear cells, and the mononuclear cells were CD68-positive. The epidermis surrounding the vesicle expresses monocyte chemotactic chemokine, CCL2. In conclusion, PPP-VF contains the proteinase required for LL-37 processing and also may directly upregulate IL-8 in lesional keratinocytes, in turn contributing to the subsequent inflammation of PPP lesional skin.