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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2009, Article ID 193260, 12 pages
Research Article

Low-Frequency Low-Intensity Ultrasounds Do Not Influence the Survival and Immune Functions of Cultured Keratinocytes and Dendritic Cells

1Laboratory of Immunology, Istituto Dermopatico dell'Immacolata (IDI)-IRCCS, Via Monti di Creta 104, 00167 Rome, Italy
2Teuco Guzzini srl, Montelupone, 62010 Macerata, Italy
3Unità Operativa di Dermatologia, Ospedale di Macerata, 62100 Macerata, Italy

Received 27 April 2009; Revised 24 September 2009; Accepted 12 October 2009

Academic Editor: Ronald E. Baynes

Copyright © 2009 Claudia Scarponi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Low-frequency ultrasounds (US) are used to enhance drug transdermal transport. Although this phenomenon has been extensively analyzed, information on US effects on the single skin cell components is limited. Here, we investigated the possible effects of low-frequency US on viability and immune functions of cultured human keratinocytes and dendritic cells (DC), skin cells involved in the regulation of many immune-mediated dermatoses. We demonstrated that US, employed at low-frequency (42 KHz) and low-intensity (0.15  W / c m 2 ) values known to enhance drug and water transdermal transport, did not affect extracellular-signal-regulated-kinase (ERK)1/2 activation, cell viability, or expression of adhesion molecules in cultured keratinocytes. Moreover, US at these work frequency and intensity did not influence the keratinocyte expression and release of immunomodulatory molecules. Similarly, cultured DC treated with low-frequency low-intensity US were viable, and did not show an altered membrane phenotype, cytokine profile, nor antigen presentation ability. However, intensity enhancement of low-frequency US to 5  W / c m 2 determined an increase of the apoptotic rate of both keratinocytes and DC as well as keratinocyte CXCL8 release and ERK1/2 activation, and DC CD40 expression. Our study sustains the employment of low-frequency and low-intensity US for treatment of those immune skin disorders, where keratinocytes and DC have a pathogenetic role.