Urban particulate matters induce EGR-1 expression in keratinocytes which correlates with the severity of psoriasis



Early growth response protein (Egr)-1 is a transcription factor important for cell growth and initiation of immune responses. It is significantly up-regulated in psoriatic skin.


We evaluated the differential expression of Egr-1 in skin lesions of plaque psoriasis and its correlation with the severity of psoriasis. We also used in vitro methods in normal keratinocytes to analyze if urban particulate matter influences Egr-1 expression.


Egr-1 was significantly up-regulated in the psoriatic skin, specifically in the stratum basale. Its expression was positively correlated with the severity of psoriasis (ρ = 0.497, P = 0.013). It was also significantly up-regulated in keratinocytes with exposure to urban particulate matters under in vitro condition.


Up-regulated expression of Egr-1 in the epidermis suggests that it plays a role in psoriasis by accelerating epidermal cell replication, to which could be attributed by urban particulate matter.

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This work was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (NRF-2019R1A2B5B01070162). Additionally, this work was supported by Korea University grant.

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M-GK and SWS conceived and designed the experiments. M-GK performed the experiments. SWS contributed reagents/materials/analytical tools. TJP, HO, HJK, and SWS acquired and interpreted clinical data. All author wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Hee Joo Kim or Sang Wook Son.

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Tae Jun Park, Haneul Oh, Min-Gyu Kim, Jaehyung Kim, Hee Joo Kim, and Sang Wook Son declare no conflicts of interest.

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All experimental protocols and procedures were approved and conducted according to the approved guidelines.

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Park, T.J., Oh, H., Kim, MG. et al. Urban particulate matters induce EGR-1 expression in keratinocytes which correlates with the severity of psoriasis. Mol. Cell. Toxicol. (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13273-021-00125-w

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  • Early growth response protein 1
  • Psoriasis
  • Urban particulate matter