Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy




113088 (1-13)




Skin, the largest organ in the body, provides a passive physical barrier against infection and contains elements of the innate and adaptive immune systems. Skin consists of various cells, including keratinocytes, fibroblasts, endothelial cells and immune cells. This diversity of cell types could be important to gene therapies because DNA transfection could elicit different responses in different cell types. Previously, we observed the upregulation and activation of cytosolic DNA sensing pathways in several non-tumor and tumor cell types as well in tumors after the electroporation (electrotransfer) of plasmid DNA (pDNA). Based on this research and the innate immunogenicity of skin, we correlated the effects of pDNA electrotransfer to fibroblasts and keratinocytes to mouse skin using reverse transcription real-time PCR (RT-qPCR) and several types of protein quantification. After pDNA electrotransfer, the mRNAs of the putative DNA sensors DEAD (AspGlu-Ala-Asp) box polypeptide 60 (Ddx60), absent in melanoma 2 (Aim2), Z-DNA binding protein 1 (Zbp1), interferon activated gene 202 (Ifi202), and interferon-inducible protein 204 (Ifi204) were upregulated in keratinocytes, while Ddx60, Zbp1 and Ifi204 were upregulated in fibroblasts. Increased levels of the mRNAs and proteins of several cytokines and chemokines were detected and varied based on cell type. Mouse skin experiments in vivo confirmed our in vitro results with increased expression of putative DNA sensor mRNAs and of the mRNAs and proteins of several cytokines and chemokines. Finally, with immunofluorescent staining, we demonstrated that skin keratinocytes, fibroblasts and macrophages contribute to the immune response observed after pDNA electrotransfer.


© 2022 The Authors.

This is an open access article under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license.

Original Publication Citation

Bosnjak, M., Znidar, K., Sales Conniff, A., Jesenko, T., Markelc, B., Semenova, N., Tur, J., Kohena, K., Kranjc Brezar, S., Heller, L., & Cemazar, M. (2022). In vitro and in vivo correlation of skin and cellular responses to nucleic acid delivery. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, 150, 1-13, Article 113088.