Background Hailey-Hailey disease (HHD) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by suprabasal cutaneous cell separation (acantholysis) leading to the development of erosive and oozing skin lesions. While a strong relationship exists between mutations in the gene that encodes the Ca2+/Mn 2+-adenosine triphosphatase ATP2C1 and HHD, we still have little understanding of how these mutations affect manifestations of the disease. Objectives This study was designed to determine early signalling events that affect epithelial cell growth and differentiation during HHD development. Methods Expression of key regulatory signals important for maintaining skin homeostasis were evaluated by Western blot analysis and by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction in primary keratinocytes obtained from skin biopsies of patients with HHD. Reactive oxygen species accumulation in primary keratinocytes derived from lesional skin of patients with HHD was assessed by dihydrorhodamine 123 (DHR) assay. Results HHD-derived keratinocytes showed downregulation of both Notch1 and differential regulation of different p63 isoforms. Itch and p63 are co-expressed in the epidermis and in primary keratinocytes where Itch controls the p63 protein steady-state level. We found that the Itch protein was significantly decreased in HHD-derived keratinocytes whereas the expression of its target, c-Jun, remained unaffected. We also found that HHD-derived keratinocytes undergo oxidative stress, which may explain both Notch1 and Itch downregulation. Conclusions Our attempt to explore the molecular mechanism underlying HHD indicates a complex puzzle in which multi-hit combinations of altered signal pathways may explain the wide spectrum of defects in HHD.
- Reactive oxygen species
ASJC Scopus subject areas