Prolactin - A novel neuroendocrine regulator of human keratin expression in situ

Yuval Ramot, Tamás Bíró, Stephan Tiede, Balázs I. Tóth, Ewan A. Langan, Koji Sugawara, Kerstin Foitzik, Arieh Ingber, Vincent Goffin, Lutz Langbein, Ralf Paus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


The controls of human keratin expression in situ remain to be fully elucidated. Here, we have investigated the effects of the neurohormone prolactin (PRL) on keratin expression in a physiologically and clinically relevant test system: organ-cultured normal human hair follicles (HFs). Not only do HFs express a wide range of keratins, but they are also a source and target of PRL. Microarray analysis revealed that PRL differentially regulated a defined subset of keratins and keratin-associated proteins. Quantitative immunohisto- morphometry and quantitative PCR confirmed that PRL up-regulated expression of keratins K5 and K14 and the epithelial stem cell-associated keratins K15 and K19 in organ-cultured HFs and/or isolated HF keratinocytes. PRL also up-regulated K15 promoter activity and K15 protein expression in situ, whereas it inhibited K6 and K31 expression. These regulatory effects were reversed by a pure competitive PRL receptor antagonist. Antagonist alone also modulated keratin expression, suggesting that "tonic stimulation" by endogenous PRL is required for normal expression levels of selected keratins. Therefore, our study identifies PRL as a major, clinically relevant, novel neuroendocrine regulator of both human keratin expression and human epithelial stem cell biology in situ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1768-1779
Number of pages12
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Gene regulation
  • Human hair follicle
  • Keratinocytes
  • Prolactin receptor antagonist
  • Stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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