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Clin Immunol Immunopathol. 1997 Jun;83(3):223-9.

Expression of Fas ligand and its receptor in cutaneous lupus: implication in tissue injury.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Nippon Medical School, National Children's Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.


Fas ligand (FasL) is a type II membrane protein which belongs to the tumor necrosis factor family. Ligation of its receptor (Fas/APO-1/CD95) by FasL induces apoptosis of Fas-expressing cells. However, the in vivo function of these molecules in cutaneous immunity is presently unknown. In the present study, we investigated the involvement of Fas and FasL in the pathogenesis of cutaneous lupus by immunohistochemical methods. In normal skin, expression of Fas was observed on keratinocytes in the basal to granular layers. Unexpectedly, FasL was constitutively expressed on histiocytes in the dermis. In specimens of cutaneous lupus, Fas was expressed on infiltrating lymphocytes, as well as on keratinocytes as observed in normal skin. FasL was expressed on a portion of infiltrating CD4+ T cells and on histiocytes more frequently than those in normal skin. Double staining indicated that these FasL-expressing histiocytes were CD68 positive macrophages. Especially, FasL-expressing macrophages were distributed around appendages such as hair follicles. These results suggest the Fas/FasL interaction may be involved in the destruction of hair follicles which is a characteristic feature of cutaneous lupus.

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