Lifting the veil on the keratinocyte contribution to cutaneous nociception

Protein Cell. 2020 Apr;11(4):239-250. doi: 10.1007/s13238-019-00683-9. Epub 2020 Jan 6.


Cutaneous nociception is essential to prevent individuals from sustaining injuries. According to the conventional point of view, the responses to noxious stimuli are thought to be exclusively initiated by sensory neurons, whose activity would be at most modulated by keratinocytes. However recent studies have demonstrated that epidermal keratinocytes can also act as primary nociceptive transducers as a supplement to sensory neurons. To enlighten our understanding of cutaneous nociception, this review highlights recent and relevant findings on the cellular and molecular elements that underlie the contribution of epidermal keratinocytes as nociceptive modulators and noxious sensors, both under healthy and pathological conditions.

Keywords: TRP; inflammation; keratinocyte; nociception; pain; skin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism*
  • Nociception*
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / metabolism*