Keratinocytes take up serum-derived retinol (vitamin A) and metabolize it to all-trans-retinoic acid (atRA), which binds to the nuclear retinoic acid receptor (RAR). We previously reported that serum-affected keratinocyte differentiation and function; namely, it inhibited keratinization, decreased loricrin (LOR) and claudin (CLDN) 1 expression, increased keratin (K) 4 and CLDN4 levels, and reduced paracellular permeability in three-dimensional (3D) cultures of mouse keratinocytes (COCA). Contrarily, RAR inhibition reversed these changes. Here, we aimed to examine whether atRA exerted the same effects as serum, and whether it was involved in the differential oral mucosa keratinization among animal species. Porcine oral mucosal keratinocytes, which form non-keratinized epithelium in vivo, established keratinized epithelium in 3D cultures. Both mouse and porcine sera induced non-keratinized epithelium at 0.1% in COCA 3D cultures. Although atRA caused the same changes as serum, its effective concentration differed. atRA inhibited keratinization at 0.1 nM and 1 nM in porcine or human keratinocytes and COCA, respectively. Furthermore, atRA upregulated CLDN7 in the cytoplasm but not in cell–cell contacts. These atRA-induced changes were reverted by RAR inhibition. The results indicate that serum-induced changes are probably due to the effect of serum-derived atRA, and that mouse keratinocytes require higher atRA concentrations to suppress keratinization than porcine and human keratinocytes. We propose that the lower susceptibility of mouse keratinocytes to atRA, rather than a lower retinol concentration, is a possible reason for the keratinization of mouse oral mucosal epithelium.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes