Tacalcitol, an active vitamin D3, induces nerve growth factor production in human epidermal keratinocytes

Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol. Jul-Aug 2001;14(4):226-33. doi: 10.1159/000056351.


The human epidermal keratinocyte cell line K-TL-1, developed from a benign epidermal tumor, was cultured in the presence of the synthetic vitamin D3 analogue tacalcitol [1alpha,24(R)-dihydroxyvitamin D3] to assess the effects on the production of nerve growth factor (NGF). Confluent K-TL-1 cells were cultured with 10(-8) M of tacalcitol. Supernatants and cell homogenates were collected and NGF concentrations were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The concentration of NGF in the supernatants of cultures treated with tacalcitol peaked within 24 h after the start of tacalcitol treatment and remained stable for 96 h. This NGF induction caused by tacalcitol was dose-dependent, showing an ED50 between 10(-10) and 10(-9) M. Induction of NGF mRNA expression by tacalcitol was also observed by RT-PCR, indicating that tacalcitol induced NGF expression through transcriptional activation. These results suggest that active vitamin D3 could treat peripheral neuropathy by inducing NGF production in the skin.

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dermatologic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Dihydroxycholecalciferols / pharmacology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Epidermal Cells
  • Epidermis / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / drug effects
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism*
  • Nerve Growth Factor / biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Dihydroxycholecalciferols
  • RNA, Messenger
  • 1 alpha,24-dihydroxyvitamin D3
  • Nerve Growth Factor