Touch is detected through receptors located in the skin and the activation of channels in sensory nerve fibres. Epidermal keratinocytes themselves, however, may sense mechanical stimulus and contribute to skin sensation. Here, we showed that the mechanical stimulation of human keratinocytes by hypo-osmotic shock releases adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and increases intracellular calcium. We demonstrated that the release of ATP was found to be calcium independent because emptying the intracellular calcium stores did not cause ATP release; ATP release was still observed in the absence of external calcium and it persisted on chelating cytosolic calcium. On the other hand, the released ATP activated purinergic receptors and mobilized intracellular calcium stores. The resulting depletion of stored calcium led to the activation of capacitative calcium entry. Increase in cytosolic calcium concentration was blocked by the purinergic receptor blocker suramin, phospholipase C inhibitor and apyrase, which hydrolyses ATP. Collectively, our data demonstrate that human keratinocytes are mechanically activated by hypo-osmotic shock, leading first to the release of ATP, which in turn stimulates purinergic receptors, resulting in the mobilization of intracellular calcium and capacitative calcium entry. These results emphasize the crucial role of ATP signalling in the transduction of mechanical stimuli in human keratinocytes.
© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.