Interactions of the skin and nervous system

John C. Ansel, Chery A. Armstrong, Insung Song, Kimberly L. Quinlan, John E. Olerud, S. Wright Caughman, Nigel W. Bunnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is increasing experimental evidence that the neurologic system can directly participate in cutaneous inflammation and wound healing. Recent studies indicate that neuropeptides released by cutaneous nerves such as c- fibers can activate a number of target cells including keratinocytes, Langerhans cells, mast cells, and endothelial cells. One such neuropeptide, substance P (SP), is able to specifically bind to murine and human keratinocytes and induce the release of cytokines such as interleukin 1 (IL- 1). Other studies demonstrate that SP can also activate mast cells to produce the potent pro-inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα). More recently, we examined the effect of cutaneous neuropeptides on human dermal microvascular endothelial cell (HDMEC) activities. Our studies indicate that the c-fiber-derived calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is capable of stimulating HDMEC to secrete the neutrophil chemotactic factor interleukin 8 (IL-8). In addition, SP is able to directly activate HDMEC to express high levels of the important cellular adhesion molecule vascular cellular adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1). Thus, these studies support the role that the neurologic system may play in mediating the biologic processes that occur during inflammation and wound healing in the skin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-26
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997


  • Keratinocytes
  • Neuropeptides
  • Substance P
  • Wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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