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Arch Dermatol Res. 2012 Jan;304(1):65-71. doi: 10.1007/s00403-011-1168-2. Epub 2011 Sep 30.

Increased skin barrier disruption by sodium lauryl sulfate in mice expressing a constitutively active STAT6 in T cells.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, 46202, USA.


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a pruritic, chronic inflammatory skin disease that affects 10-20% of children and 1-3% of adults worldwide. Recent studies have indicated that the ability of Th2 cytokines, such as interleukin-4 (IL-4) to regulate skin barrier function may be a predisposing factor for AD development. The present studies examined the ability of increased Th2 activity to affect cutaneous barrier function in vivo and epidermal thickening. Mice that express a constitutively active Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 6 (STAT6VT) have increased Th2 cells and a predisposition to allergic inflammation were used in these studies, they demonstrate that topical treatment with the irritant sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) caused increased transepidermal water loss and epidermal thickening in STAT6VT mice over similarly treated wild-type mice. The proliferation marker Ki-67 was increased in the epidermis of STAT6VT compared to the wild-type mice. However, these differences do not appear to be linked to the addition of an irritant as control-treated STAT6VT skin also exhibited elevated Ki-67 levels, suggesting that the increased epidermal thickness in SLS-treated STAT6VT mice is primarily driven by epidermal cell hypertrophy rather than an increase in cellular proliferation. Our results suggest that an environment with increased Th2 cytokines results in abnormal responses to topical irritants.

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