Dynamic alteration of human β-defensin 2 localization from cytoplasm to intercellular space in psoriatic skin

Wook Kang Huh, Takashi Oono, Yoshinori Shirafuji, Hisanori Akiyama, Jirô Arata, Masakiyo Sakaguchi, Nam ho Huh, Keiji Iwatsuki

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45 Citations (Scopus)


Defensins are cationic antimicrobial peptides with a broad spectrum. Recently human β-defensin 2 (hBD-2) has been isolated from psoriatic skin; however, its exact localization and fate have not been fully understood. We studied the distribution pattern of hBD-2 in skin tissues of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin diseases. In the upper spinous and granular layer of pso-riasis vulgaris hBD-2 was present in the cytoplasm. In the horny layer the positive signals were in a basket-weave pattern, indicating possible accumulation of hBD-2 in the intercellular space. The similar pattern of hBD-2 distribution was observed in the lesions of num-mular eczema and atopic dermatitis. hBD-2 was not detected in the section of normal elbow and knee skin. When isolated psoriatic scales were stained, hBD-2 was detected in a wrapping paper-like distribution pattern surrounding the corneocytes. In horny layer of psoriatic skin hBD-2 was closely associated or colocalized with elafin, which is known to be in extracellular space, as demonstrated by double staining. Western blot analysis using cultured human keratinocytes detected hBD-2 with an expected size in the conditioned medium and in the cell lysates when stimulated with 5% FCS or IL-a. These results indicate that hBD-2 was synthesized and remained in cytoplasm in the upper spinous and granular layer, and then secreted into intercellular space in the horny layer. This dynamic change in hBD-2 distribution in epidermis is certainly relevant to function as an innate host defense mechanism against invading micro-organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)678-684
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Molecular Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Antimicrobial peptide
  • Horny layer
  • Human β-defensin
  • Innate immunity
  • Psoriasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery
  • Genetics(clinical)


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