The proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-20 (IL-20) may exert the majority of its activity in the skin. We examined the effect of various treatments including several forms of phototherapy on IL-20 expression using cultured normal human epithelial keratinocytes (NHEK). Broadband UVB light, recombinant (r) IL-1 and rIL-8 increased, while hydrocortisone reduced, NHEK supernatant IL-20 levels. Elevation of NHEK IL-20 mRNA and maximal supernatant IL-20 levels occurred with a UVB light dose (40 mJ cm−2) that reduced cell viability by approximately 50%. While this UVB light dose also elevated supernatant IL-1α and IL-8 levels, antibody neutralization studies indicated that neither of these cytokines was directly responsible for this increase in IL-20 expression. However, the elevation in IL-20 levels was fully inhibited by the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibitor SB-203580, suggesting involvement of this stress signaling pathway in this UVB light response. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) with the photosensitizer lemuteporfin, UVA light, cisplatin, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) or recombinant interferon-γ (rIFN-γ) either had little effect or decreased NHEK supernatant IL-20 levels. Reduced IL-20 levels paralleled the cytotoxic actions of PDT, UVA light or cisplatin and the antiproliferative effect of rIFN-γ. Neither rIL-20 supplementation nor anti-IL-20 antibody treatments affected cell viability indicating that soluble IL-20 did not affect the short-term survival of UVB light-irradiated NHEK. Stimulation of IL-20 expression in keratinocytes by UVB light suggests that this cytokine might participate in skin responses to this ever-present environmental factor and potentially has a role in UV light-associated dermatoses.
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Vol. 82 • No. 5