Interferons have been postulated to participate in growth regulation of normal body tissues and are known to inhibit growth of human epidermal keratinocytes in vitro. Polyclonal antibodies to recombinant human interferon-alpha, purified by passage over an affinity column (Sepharose coupled to the recombinant interferon), used in the indirect immunofluorescent method specifically stained the proliferative (basal) compartment of human epidermis in histological cross-sections of normal skin and in cultured keratinocyte colonies. Extracts prepared from healthy nonvirally infected keratinocyte cultures contained interferon activity as determined by viral plaque inhibition assay. Using the Western blotting technique column-purified antibodies and antisera to recombinant human interferon-alpha recognized a band of approximately 40 kD when reacted with both extracted keratinocyte proteins and recombinant human interferon-alpha standards, that gave in addition a band of approximately 20 kD. The above findings suggest that interferon or a closely related protein is present in the proliferative compartment of normal epidermis in the absence of viral infection and therefore may serve as a physiological modulator of epidermal growth.

This content is only available as a PDF.