Upregulation of chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 20 in adult epidermal keratinocytes in direct current electric fields

Arch Dermatol Res. 2010 Apr;302(3):211-20. doi: 10.1007/s00403-009-0995-x. Epub 2009 Sep 26.


Electric fields (EFs) of around 100 mV/mm are present in normal healing wounds and induce the directional migration of epithelial cells. Reepithelialization during wound healing thus may be controlled in part by this electrical signal. In this study, the early transcriptional response of human epidermal keratinocytes to EFs is examined using microarrays. Increased expression of various chemokines, interleukins, and other inflammatory response genes indicates that EFs stimulate keratinocyte activation and immune stimulatory activity. Gene expression activity further suggests that interleukin 1 is either released or activated in EFs. Expression of the chemokine CCL20 steadily increases at 100 mV/mm over time until around 8 h after exposure. This chemokine is also expressed at field strengths of 300 mV/mm-above the level of endogenous wound fields. The early effects of EFs on epithelial gene expression activity identified in these studies suggest the importance of naturally occurring EFs both in repair mechanisms and for the possibility of controlling these responses therapeutically.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemokine CCL20 / genetics*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Epidermal Cells
  • Epidermis / immunology*
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / immunology*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Time Factors
  • Up-Regulation


  • CCL20 protein, human
  • Chemokine CCL20