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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Jan;125(1):160-9.e1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2009.06.049. Epub 2009 Oct 8.

Murine atopic dermatitis responds to peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors alpha and beta/delta (but not gamma) and liver X receptor activators.

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Dermatology Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.



Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory dermatosis now increasingly linked to mutations that alter the structure and function of the stratum corneum. Activators of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) alpha, beta/delta, and gamma and liver X receptor (LXR) regulate epidermal protein and lipid production, leading to superior barrier function. Additionally, some of these activators exhibit potent antihyperplastic and anti-inflammatory activity in irritant contact dermatitis and acute allergic contact dermatitis murine models.


We evaluated the efficacy of PPAR/LXR activation in a hapten (oxazolone [Ox])-induced AD-like model (Ox-AD) in hairless mice.


Ox-AD was established with 10 Ox challenges (every other day) on the flank. After the establishment of Ox-AD, twice-daily topical application with individual PPAR/LXR activators was then performed for 4 days, with continued Ox challenges every other day. The efficacy of topical PPAR/LXR activators to reduce parameters of Ox-AD was assessed physiologically, morphologically, and immunologically.


Certain topical activators of PPARalpha, PPARbeta/delta, and LXR, but not activators of PPARgamma, reversed the clinical dermatosis, significantly improved barrier function, and increased stratum corneum hydration in Ox-AD mice. In addition, the same activators, but again not PPARgamma, largely reversed the immunologic abnormalities in Ox-AD mice, including the increased T(H)2 markers, such as tissue eosinophil/mast cell density, serum thymus and activation-related chemokine levels, the density of chemoattractant receptor-homologous molecule expressed on T(H)2-positive lymphocytes (but not serum IgE levels), and reduced IL-1alpha and TNF-alpha activation, despite ongoing hapten challenges.


These results suggest that topical applications of certain activators/ligands of PPARalpha, PPARbeta/delta, and LXR could be useful for the treatment of AD in human subjects.

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