Inhibition of dipeptidyl-peptidase 4 induces upregulation of the late cornified envelope cluster in keratinocytes

Lei Bao, Jing Li, Bethany E. Perez White, Payal M. Patel, Kyle T. Amber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Dipeptidyl-peptidase 4 (DPP4) is a multifunctional type II transmembrane glycoprotein that is expressed on various cell surfaces. While DPP4 inhibitors have a therapeutic role in the treatment of diabetes mellitus, they are an independent risk factor in the development of bullous pemphigoid. Contrarily, there are reports of improvement in psoriasis with DPP4 inhibition. We investigated the effect of DPP4 inhibition on primary human keratinocytes to determine whether DPP4 modulates keratinocyte inflammatory signaling and keratinocyte homeostasis. We performed RNA sequencing of primary adult human keratinocytes treated with DPP4 inhibitor, identifying 424 differentially expressed genes. Gene ontology analysis revealed significant enrichment of epidermal differentiation and cornified envelope genes. Using three-dimensional organotypic cultures and a pan-late cornified envelope 2 (LCE2) antibody, we demonstrate a dose dependent relationship between DPP4 inhibition and increased expression of LCE2 during epidermal development. The late cornified envelope gene clusters are expressed at the late stages of epithelial development, responding to stimuli such as calcium and ultraviolet light. While its biologic function is not fully understood, mutations in LCE3B/LCE3C confer a 40% increased risk in the development of plaque psoriasis. While we did not identify significant modulation of keratinocyte inflammatory markers, DPP4 inhibition increased expression of the late cornified envelope may offer a potential alternative therapeutic mechanism in psoriasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)909-915
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Dermatological Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Bullous pemphigoid
  • CD26
  • Dipeptidyl-peptidase 4
  • Psoriasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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