Expression of interferon-beta is associated with growth arrest of murine and human epidermal cells

J Invest Dermatol. 1999 May;112(5):802-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1747.1999.00566.x.


The cytokine interferon-beta is a regulator of cell replication and function, including invasion and induction of angiogenesis. The goal of this study was to determine whether the expression of interferon-beta by cells in the epidermis correlated with terminal differentiation. In situ hybridization analysis and immunohistochemical staining of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens of normal human and murine epidermis and human and murine skin tumors of epithelial origin revealed that only differentiated, nondividing cells of the epidermis expressed interferon-beta protein. Keratinocyte cultures established from the epidermis of 3 d old mice were maintained under conditions permitting continuous cell division or induction of differentiation. Continuously dividing cells did not produce interferon-beta whereas nondividing differentiated cells expressing keratin 1 did. Growth-arrested, undifferentiated keratinocytes also expressed interferon-beta protein. Neutralizing interferon-beta in the culture medium inhibited differentiation, but the addition of exogenous interferon-beta did not stimulate differentiation. These data indicate that interferon-beta is produced by growth-arrested, terminally differentiated keratinocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / pharmacology
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epidermal Cells*
  • Epidermis / metabolism*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Interferon-beta / biosynthesis*
  • Interferon-beta / immunology
  • Interferon-beta / pharmacology
  • Interferon-beta / physiology
  • Keratin-14
  • Keratinocytes / cytology
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Keratins / biosynthesis
  • Membrane Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Time Factors


  • Antibodies
  • KRT14 protein, human
  • Keratin-14
  • Krt14 protein, mouse
  • Membrane Proteins
  • loricrin
  • Keratins
  • Interferon-beta
  • Calcium