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J Immunol. 2005 Dec 15;175(12):8320-6.

Topical superantigen exposure induces epidermal accumulation of CD8+ T cells, a mixed Th1/Th2-type dermatitis and vigorous production of IgE antibodies in the murine model of atopic dermatitis.

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Laboratory of Immunotoxicology, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland.


Patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) have repeated cutaneous exposure to both environmental allergens and superantigen-producing strains of Staphylococcus aureus. We used a murine model of AD to investigate the role of staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) in the modulation of allergen-induced skin inflammation. Mice were topically exposed to SEB, OVA, a combination of OVA and SEB (OVA/SEB), or PBS. Topical SEB and OVA/SEB exposure induced epidermal accumulation of CD8+ T cells and TCRVbeta8+ cells in contrast to OVA application, which induced a mainly dermal infiltration of CD4+ cells. SEB and OVA/SEB exposure elicited a mixed Th1/Th2-associated cytokine and chemokine expression profile within the skin. Restimulation of lymph node cells from OVA- and OVA/SEB-exposed mice with OVA elicited strong production of IL-13 protein, whereas substantial amounts of IFN-gamma protein were detected after SEB stimulation of cells derived from SEB- or OVA/SEB-exposed mice. Topical SEB treatment elicited vigorous production of SEB-specific IgE and IgG2a Abs and significantly increased the production of OVA-specific IgE and IgG2a Abs. The present study shows that topical exposure to SEB provokes epidermal accumulation of CD8+ T cells, a mixed Th2/Th1 type dermatitis and vigorous production of specific IgE and IgG2a Abs, which can be related to the chronic phase of atopic skin inflammation.

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