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J Clin Invest. 1999 Apr;103(8):1103-11.

Roles of TH1 and TH2 cytokines in a murine model of allergic dermatitis.

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Division of Immunology, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Skin lesions in atopic dermatitis (AD) are characterized by hypertrophy of the dermis and epidermis, infiltration by T cells and eosinophils, and expression of the cytokines IL-4, IL-5, and IFN-gamma. The role of these cytokines in the pathogenesis of AD is not known. We took advantage of a recently described murine model of AD elicited by epicutaneous sensitization with ovalbumin (OVA) (1) and of the availability of mice with targeted deletions of the IL-4, IL-5, and IFN-gamma cytokine genes to assess the role of these cytokines in this model.OVA-sensitized skin from IL-5(-/-) mice had no detectable eosinophils and exhibited decreased epidermal and dermal thickening. Sensitized skin from IL-4(-/-) mice displayed normal thickening of the skin layers but had a drastic reduction in eosinophils and a significant increase in infiltrating T cells. These findings were associated with a reduction in eotaxin mRNA and an increase in mRNA for the T-cell chemokines macrophage inflammatory protein-2 (MIP-2), MIP-1beta, and RANTES. Sensitized skin from IFN-gamma-/- mice was characterized by reduced dermal thickening. These results suggest that both the TH2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-5 and the TH1 cytokine IFN-gamma play important roles in the inflammation and hypertrophy of the skin in AD.

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