Increased mast cell expression of PAR-2 in skin inflammatory diseases and release of IL-8 upon PAR-2 activation

Exp Dermatol. 2010 Feb;19(2):117-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2009.00998.x. Epub 2009 Nov 2.


Mast cells are increasingly present in the lesional skin of chronic skin inflammatory diseases including psoriasis and basal cell carcinoma (BCC). It has previously been shown that proteinase-activated receptor (PAR)-2 is expressed by mast cells, and tryptase is a potent activator of this receptor. In this study, skin biopsies from both healthy-looking and lesional skin of patients with psoriasis and superficial spreading BCC were collected and the expression of PAR-2 immunoreactivity in tryptase-positive mast cells was analysed. PAR-2 expression was confirmed in vitro in different mast cell populations. Cord-blood derived mast cells (CBMC) were stimulated with a PAR-2 activating peptide, 2-furoyl-LIGRLO-NH(2). Consequently, IL-8 and histamine production was analysed in the supernatants. We observed a significant increase in the percentage of mast cells expressing PAR-2 in the lesional skin of psoriasis and BCC patients compared with the healthy-looking skin. HMC-1.2, LAD-2 and CBMC mast cells all expressed PAR-2 both intracellularly and on the cell surface. CBMC activation with the PAR-2 activating peptide resulted in an increased secretion of IL-8, but no histamine release was observed. Furthermore, both PAR-2 and IL-8 were co-localized to the same tryptase-positive mast cells in the lesional BCC skin. These results show that mast cells express increased levels of PAR-2 in chronic skin inflammation. Also, mast cells can be activated by a PAR-2 agonist to secrete IL-8, a chemokine which can contribute to the progress of inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psoriasis / metabolism*
  • Receptor, PAR-2 / metabolism*
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation
  • Young Adult


  • Interleukin-8
  • Receptor, PAR-2