Indian Journal of Dermatology
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 101-106

The role of EGFR/ERK/ELK-1 MAP kinase pathway in the underlying damage to diabetic rat skin

1 Department of Dermatological, General Hospital of Ningxia Medical University, Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China
2 Center of Laboratory Medicine, Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China
3 Ningxia Medical University, General Hospital of Ningxia Medical University, Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China

Correspondence Address:
Jianzhong Zhang
General Hospital of Ningxia Medical University, Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region 750004
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Source of Support: This work was supported by Grant.in.Aid for National Natural Science Foundation of China (No.81060181) and Natural Science Foundation of Ningxia of China (NZ1222), Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.108035

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Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a highly prevalent disease. Atrophy and spontaneous ulcers are the most common cutaneous manifestation of diabetic dermopathy (DD). Before spontaneous ulcers, we believe there is an underlying damage stage although the mechanism is unknown. Aims: To explore the expression of extracellular signal-regulated kinase1/2 (ERK1/2), its correlated upstream protein epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and its downstream transcription factor E twenty-six (ETS)-like 1(ELK-1)in the damage of the diabetic rat skin, and to explore the role of ERK1/2 on the recessive damage to diabetic rat skin. Materials and Methods: Eighty Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats weighing 260-300 g were randomly divided into control and streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes groups. After 0.5, 2, 4, and 8 weeks, the shaved skin specimens from the back of rats in both groups were collected to observe the histological characteristics of the skin, to measure the thickness of the epidermis and the dermis, and to observe the ultrastructure. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) and Western blot techniques were used to detect the expression and activation of ERK1/2, EGFR, ELK-1 in the skin of the rats. Results: There are ultrastructural changes in the DM skin. With the continuance of the diabetes course, the thicknesses of the epidermis and dermis decreased, and the expression of phospho-ERK1/2 (P-ERK1/2), EGFR, and ELK-1 was decreased gradually in the back skin of the diabetes rats. It was significantly lower in 4 and 8 week DM than that of the normal control ( P < 0.05). The expression of P-EGFR and P-ERK1/2 in the back skin of the diabetes rats was positively correlated ( r = 0.572 P < 0.05), and the positive correlation was also obtained between P-ERK1/2 and P-ELK-1 ( r = 0.715, P < 0.05). Conclusion: The phenomenon of recessive damage exists in the skin of diabetes rats, which probably may relate to the weakness of the signal transduction: P-EGFR → ERK1/2 → ELK-1.

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