Törmä H, Bergström A, Ghiasifarahani G, Berne B
Arch. Dermatol. Res. 306 (8) 739-747 [2014-10-00; online 2014-06-13]
Retinoids (natural forms and synthetic derivatives of vitamin A) are used as therapeutic agents for numerous skin diseases such as keratinization disorders (e.g. ichthyoses) and psoriasis. Two endogenous ligands for retinoic acid receptors exist, retinoic acid (atRA) and 3,4-didehydroretinoic acid (ddRA). In primary human epidermal keratinocytes many transcriptional targets for atRA are known, whereas the targets for ddRA are unknown. In an attempt to determine the targets, we compared the effect of atRA and ddRA on transcriptional profiles in undifferentiated and differentiating human primary keratinocytes. First, as expected, many genes were induced or suppressed in response to keratinocyte differentiation. Furthermore, the two retinoids affected substantially more genes in differentiated keratinocytes (>350) than in proliferating keratinocytes (≈20). In differentiating keratinocytes markers of cornification were suppressed suggesting a de-differentiating effect by the two retinoids. When comparing the expression profile of atRA to that of ddRA, no differently regulated genes were found. The array analysis also found that a minor number of miRNAs and a large number of non-coding transcripts were changed during differentiation and in response to the two retinoids. Furthermore, the expression of all, except one, genes known to cause autosomal recessive congenital ichthyosis (ARCI) were found to be induced by differentiation. These results comprehensively document that atRA and ddRA exert similar transcriptional changes in keratinocytes and also add new insights into the molecular mechanism influenced by retinoids in the epidermis. Furthermore, it suggests which ARCI patients could benefit from therapy with retinoids.