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Arch Dermatol Res. 1989;281(1):24-30.

Predominance of "memory" T cells (CD4+, CDw29+) over "naive" T cells (CD4+, CD45R+) in both normal and diseased human skin.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Amsterdam, Academisch Medisch Centrum, The Netherlands.


Absolute numbers of CD3+ T lymphocytes and their subpopulations were determined and statistically evaluated in the lesional skin of psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, nummular dermatitis, pityriasis rosea, and lichen planus. Skin sections were divided into horizontal layers and the numbers of CD3+ T cells as well as CD4+ inducer and CD8+ suppressor-cytotoxic T-cell subsets were counted. In addition, absolute numbers of the two subpopulations of inducer T cells, i.e., "memory" (4B4+ 2H4-) and "naive" (4B4- 2H4+) were evaluated. Unexpectedly, epidermal infiltration by T cells was highest in psoriasis and lowest in atopic dermatitis. In most cases, this exocytosis was dominated by CD8+ suppressor/cytotoxic T lymphocytes, with a minimal epidermal mean CD4/mean CD8 ratio of 0.04 in pityriasis rosea and a maximum of 0.48 in psoriasis. Inducer T cells within the epidermis were almost exclusively of the 4B4+ 2H4- "memory" T-cell subpopulation, whereas 4B4- 2H4+ "naive" T cells were extremely uncommon in lesional epidermis. Similar results were obtained for dermal T cells in all diseases studied, i.e., 4B4- 2H4+ "naive" T cells were relatively rare. Papillary dermis infiltration by T cells was highest in lichen planus where a mean CD4/mean CD8 ratio of 1.10, the minimum in this comparative study, was obtained. The mean CD4/mean CD8 ratio of the papillary infiltrate was highest in atopic dermatitis (4.12). Our results indicate disease-specific and significantly different infiltration patterns of T-lymphocyte subsets in the chronic inflammatory dermatoses investigated.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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