Malassezia cells stimulate cytokine production by keratinocytes, although this ability differs among Malassezia species for unknown reasons. The aim of this study was to clarify the factors determining the ability to induce cytokine production by human keratinocytes in response to Malassezia species. M. furfur NBRC 0656, M. sympodialis CBS 7222, M. dermatis JCM 11348, M. globosa CBS 7966, M. restricta CBS 7877, and three strains each of M. globosa, M. restricta, M. dermatis, M. sympodialis, and M. furfur maintained under various culture conditions were used. Normal human epidermal keratinocytes (NHEKs) (1 × 10 5 cells) and the Malassezia species (1 × 10 6 cells) were co-cultured, and IL-1α, IL-6, and IL-8 mRNA levels were determined. Moreover, the hydrophobicity and β-1,3-glucan expression at the surface of Malassezia cells were analyzed. The ability of Malassezia cells to trigger the mRNA expression of proinflammatory cytokines in NHEKs differed with the species and conditions and was dependent upon the hydrophobicity of Malassezia cells not β-1,3-glucan expression.
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