Keratinocytes express fibrillin and assemble microfibrils: implications for dermal matrix organization

Br J Dermatol. 1997 Jul;137(1):17-23.


Fibrillin-containing microfibrils are key architectural structures of the upper dermis and integral components of the dermal elastic fibre network. Microfibril bundles intercalate into the dermal-epithelial junction and provide an elastic connection between the dermal elastic fibre network and the epidermis. Immunohistochemical studies have suggested that they are laid down both at the dermal-epithelial junction and in the deep dermis. While dermal fibroblasts are responsible for deposition of the elastin and microfibrillar components that comprise the elastic fibres of the deep dermis, the cellular origin of the microfibril bundles that extrude from the dermal-epithelial junction is not well defined. We have used fresh tissues, freshly isolated epidermis and primary human and porcine keratinocyte cultures to investigate the possibility that keratinocytes are responsible for deposition of these microfibrils. We have shown that keratinocytes in vivo and in vitro synthesize both fibrillin-1 and fibrillin-2, and assemble beaded microfibrils concurrently with expression of basement membrane collagen. These observations suggest that keratinocytes co-ordinate the secretion, deposition and assembly of these distinct structural elements of the dermal matrix, and have important implications for skin remodelling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basement Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Elastic Tissue / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology*
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism*
  • Fibrillin-1
  • Fibrillin-2
  • Fibrillins
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Keratinocytes / cytology
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism*
  • Microfilament Proteins / genetics
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Skin / cytology*
  • Skin / growth & development
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Swine


  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • FBN1 protein, human
  • FBN2 protein, human
  • Fibrillin-1
  • Fibrillin-2
  • Fibrillins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Collagen

Associated data

  • GENBANK/M26576
  • GENBANK/X63556