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Allergy. 2009 Nov;64(11):1588-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2009.02054.x. Epub 2009 Apr 29.

Low-dose cyclosporine A therapy increases the regulatory T cell population in patients with atopic dermatitis.

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1
Deutsches Rheuma-Forschungszentrum, Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a T cell dependent chronic relapsing inflammatory skin disorder successfully treated with cyclosporine A (CsA). Clinical observations indicate that even low-dose CsA therapy is successful in severely affected AD patients. We studied the impact of low-dose CsA therapy on the ability of T helper cells to be activated, and examined whether regulatory T (Treg) cells are increased in these patients.

METHODS:

Peripheral T cells were activated in a whole blood sample and interleukin-2 producing cells were measured by intracellular cytokine staining. Regulatory T cells were analyzed by intracellular FoxP3 staining. Regulatory T cells (CD4(+)CD25(+)CD127(low)) and effector T cells (CD4(+)CD25(-)CD127(+)) were sorted by flow cytometry and used for suppression assays.

RESULTS:

A group of AD patients treated with low-dose CsA had a significantly larger Treg cell population than a healthy control subject group. In individual patients, onset of low-dose CsA therapy reduced the ability of T cells to be activated to 42 +/- 18% (P < 0.005) and significantly increased Treg cells, both in absolute numbers (1.6-fold change) and frequencies (1.7-fold change). Treg cells from AD patients showed similar suppressive capacities as Treg cells from healthy donors. Furthermore, Treg cells from AD patients had skin homing properties.

CONCLUSION:

Our results indicate that the therapeutic effect of low-dose CsA therapy in AD patients might be not only mediated by the inhibition of T cell hyperactivity but also by an increased population of Treg cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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