Skin barrier dysfunction induces skin inflammation. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is known to be involved in Th17-mediated immune responses and barrier integrity in the cornea and intestine; however, its role in the skin barrier remains largely unknown. In this study, we elucidated the potential role of STAT3 in the skin barrier and its effect on kallikrein-related peptidase 5 (KLK5) and serine protease inhibitor Kazal-type 5 (SPINK5) expression using a mouse model with keratinocyte-specific ablation of STAT3. Keratinocyte-specific loss of STAT3 induced a cutaneous inflammatory phenotype with pruritus and intense scratching behaviour in mice. Transcriptomic analysis revealed that the genes associated with impaired skin barrier function, including KLK5, were upregulated. The effect of STAT3 on KLK5 expression in keratinocytes was not only substantiated by the increase in KLK5 expression following treatment with STAT3 siRNA but also by its decreased expression following STAT3 overexpression. Overexpression and IL-17A–mediated stimulation of STAT3 increased the expression of SPINK5, which was blocked by STAT3 siRNA. These results suggest that the expression of SPINK5 and KLK5 in keratinocytes could be dependent on STAT3 and that STAT3 might play an essential role in the maintenance of skin barrier homeostasis.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) and funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (NRF‐2019R1A2B5B01070162). Additionally, this work was supported by a Korea University grant. The funding sources had no involvement in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the article for publication.
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
- skin barrier
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology