Chronic wounds represent a significant burden to health services and are associated with patient morbidity. Novel methods to diagnose and/or treat problematic wounds are needed. Interleukin (IL)-15 is a cytokine involved in a number of biological processes and disease states such as inflammation, healing and cancer progression. The current study explores the expression profile of IL-15 and IL-15 receptor (IL-15R alpha) in chronic wounds and its impact on keratinocytes. IL-15 and IL-15R expression were examined in healing and non-healing chronic wounds using qPCR and immunohistochemical analysis. The impact of recombinant IL-15 (rhIL-15) on human adult low calcium temperature (HaCaT) keratinocyte growth and migratory potential was further examined. IL-15 transcript expression was slightly, though non-significantly elevated in healing chronic wounds compared with non-healing chronic wounds. IL-15 protein staining was minimal in both subtypes of chronic wounds. By contrast, IL-15R alpha transcript and protein expression were both observed to be enhanced in non-healing chronic wounds compared with healing chronic wounds. The treatment of HaCaT cells with rhIL-15 generally enhanced cell growth and promoted migration. Analysis with small molecule inhibitors suggested that the pro-migratory effect of rhIL-15 may be associated with ERK, AKT, PLC gamma and FAK signalling. IL-15 may promote healing traits in keratinocytes and the differential expression of IL-15R alpha is observed in chronic wounds. Together, this may imply a complex role for this interleukin in wound healing.
- wound healing
- chronic wound