Increased expression of IL-33 in rosacea skin and UVB-irradiated and LL-37-treated HaCaT cells

Eunah Suhng, Bo Hee Kim, You Won Choi, Hae Young Choi, Hyunjin Cho, Ji Yeon Byun

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12 Scopus citations


Rosacea is one of the most common dermatoses of adults. Although the detailed pathophysiology remains unknown, it is thought that rosacea is caused by a consistently aberrant, innate immune response, and that LL-37 plays an important role. However, involvement of the inflammatory cytokine IL-33 has not yet been studied. We explored the role played by IL-33 in the pathophysiology of rosacea. First, we immunohistochemically evaluated the expression of IL-33 and its receptor (ST2) in rosacea skin. Second, we exposed HaCaT cells to ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiation in the presence or absence of LL-37 and measured the expression of proinflammatory cytokines including IL-33. We also analysed VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) mRNA expression and protein release after costimulation of HaCaT cells by LL-37 and IL-33. Immunohistochemically, IL-33 expression was enhanced in the skin of rosacea patients, especially with erythematotelangiectatic subtype. In vitro, UVB and LL-37 synergistically increased mRNAs expression of proinflammatory cytokines, especially IL-33 and IL-1β. IL-33 protein release was also synergistically increased by LL-37 and UVB treatment. LL-37 and IL-33 stimulated VEGF mRNA expression and VEGF release from HaCaT cells. Our findings suggest that rosacea skin with abundant LL-37 may robustly produce and release IL-33 when exposed to UV radiation. IL-33 may participate in the angiogenesis and vasodilation of rosacea skin by enhancing VEGF release.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1023-1029
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Dermatology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • IL-33
  • LL-37
  • cathelicidin
  • rosacea
  • ultraviolet B
  • vascular endothelial growth factor


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