Expression of chitinase-like proteins in the skin of chronic proliferative dermatitis (cpdm/cpdm) mice

Exp Dermatol. 2006 Oct;15(10):808-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2006.00483.x.


Mammalian chitinase-like proteins belong to a family of proteins structurally related to chitinases but devoid of enzymatic activity. They have a postulated role in remodeling of extracellular matrix and defense mechanisms against chitin-containing pathogens. The expression of these proteins is increased in parasitic infections and allergic airway disease, but their expression in dermatitis has not been examined. The mRNA expression of two chitinase 3-like (Chi3L) proteins, Chi3L3 (Ym1) and Chi3L4 (Ym2), was determined in the skin of normal mice, chronic proliferative dermatitis (cpdm/cpdm) mutant mice and mice with experimentally induced contact hypersensitivity reaction. The localization of Chi3L3 and Chi3L4 proteins in cells was determined by fluorescence microscopy of double-labeled frozen sections of skin, and confirmed in vitro by stimulation of macrophages and mast cells with cytokines. Quantitative RT-PCR demonstrated a 976-fold increase of Chi3l4 mRNA expression and a 24-fold increase of Chi3l3 mRNA expression in the skin of cpdm/cpdm mice. Their expression was also increased in the ears of mice with 2,4-dinitrofluorobenzene-induced contact hypersensitivity, but the increase was greater for Chi3l3 mRNA (51-fold) than Chi3l4 mRNA (32-fold). Western blot analysis with an antibody against Chi3L3 and Chi3L4 confirmed the increased amount of these proteins in the skin of cpdm/cpdm mice. Two-color immunofluorescence identified macrophages, dendritic cells and mast cells as cellular sources of Chi3L3 and Chi3L4 proteins. Eosinophils and neutrophils did not contain detectable concentrations of these proteins. Treatment of macrophages and mast cells in vitro with interleukin-4 induced expression of Chi3l3 and Chi3l4 mRNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease
  • Dermatitis / genetics
  • Dermatitis / metabolism*
  • Dermatitis / pathology
  • Dermatitis, Contact / etiology
  • Dermatitis, Contact / genetics
  • Dermatitis, Contact / metabolism
  • Dinitrofluorobenzene / adverse effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / drug effects
  • Interleukin-4 / pharmacology
  • Lectins / genetics
  • Lectins / metabolism*
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Macrophages / pathology
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / drug effects
  • Mast Cells / metabolism
  • Mast Cells / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Skin / pathology
  • beta-N-Acetylhexosaminidases / genetics
  • beta-N-Acetylhexosaminidases / metabolism*


  • Lectins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Interleukin-4
  • Dinitrofluorobenzene
  • Chil3 protein, mouse
  • beta-N-Acetylhexosaminidases