Differential expression of plasminogen activators and their inhibitors in an organotypic skin coculture system

C. S. Chen, B. Lyons-Giordano, G. S. Lazarus, P. J. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization, we have characterized the expression and localization of components of the plasminogen activator proteolytic cascade in an organotypic coculture system which consists of a 'dermal' portion (human dermal fibroblasts throughout a collagen matrix) and a stratified, well-differentiated epidermal portion. Specifically, the following components were examined: the enzymes urokinase-type plasminogen activator and tissue-type plasminogen activator and their type 1 and type 2 inhibitors. Urokinase plasminogen activator mRNA and antigen were found predominantly in the least differentiated, basal keratinocytes; in some fields there was also faint deposition of antigen beneath the basal cells. The distribution of plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 was similar to that of urokinase, except that inhibitor type 1 antigen deposition beneath the basal cells appeared more intense and uniform. In contrast to the results with urokinase plasminogen activator and inhibitor type 1, tissue plasminogen activator mRNA and antigen were localized focally in the suprabasal, i.e. more differentiated, keratinocytes. Plasminogen activator inhibitor type 2 mRNA and antigen were detected in most epidermal layers, but were more intense suprabasally and often spared the basal layer. These studies demonstrate that the same type of cell, i.e. the keratinocyte, can express different components of the plasminogen activator cascade depending on its state of differentiation. The change in expression of plasminogen activator cascade components with keratinocyte differentiation suggests distinct epidermal functions for these components, related to cell-matrix interaction and epidermal differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-53
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Differentiation
  • Keratinocytes
  • Plasminogen activator inhibitors
  • Plasminogen activators
  • Skin equivalent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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