Epidermal overexpression of stratum corneum chymotryptic enzyme in mice: a model for chronic itchy dermatitis

J Invest Dermatol. 2002 Mar;118(3):444-9. doi: 10.1046/j.0022-202x.2001.01684.x.


Identification of tissue-specific mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of inflammatory skin diseases could offer new possibilities to develop effective therapies with fewer systemic effects. The serine protease stratum corneum chymotryptic enzyme is preferentially expressed in cornifying epithelia. We have previously reported on increased expression of the stratum corneum chymotryptic enzyme in psoriasis. Here is reported an increased epidermal expression of stratum corneum chymotryptic enzyme also found in chronic lesions of atopic dermatitis. Transgenic mice expressing human stratum corneum chymotryptic enzyme in suprabasal epidermal keratinocytes were found to develop pathologic skin changes with increased epidermal thickness, hyperkeratosis, dermal inflammation, and severe pruritus. The results suggest that stratum corneum chymotryptic enzyme may be involved in the pathogenesis of inflammatory skin diseases, and that stratum corneum chymotryptic enzyme and related enzymes should be evaluated as potential targets for new therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence / genetics
  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease
  • Dermatitis / etiology*
  • Dermatitis / pathology
  • Dermatitis / physiopathology*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epidermis / enzymology*
  • Humans
  • Kallikreins
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Pruritus*
  • Serine Endopeptidases / genetics
  • Serine Endopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Skin / pathology


  • KLK7 protein, human
  • Kallikreins
  • Serine Endopeptidases