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J Invest Dermatol. 1998 Aug;111(2):222-6.

Epidermal interferon-gamma inducible protein-10 (IP-10) and monokine induced by gamma-interferon (Mig) but not IL-8 mRNA expression is associated with epidermotropism in cutaneous T cell lymphomas.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Free University Hospital, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Epidermal infiltration by neoplastic CD4+ T cells is a characteristic histologic feature of early stage mycosis fungoides, the most common type of cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL). The mechanisms involved in epidermotropism are unknown. It has been suggested that the CXC chemokines IL-8 and interferon-gamma inducible protein 10 (IP-10) may play a role, but evidence that these chemokines are produced within the epidermis in epidermotropic CTCL is lacking. In this study skin biopsies from 17 CTCL patients, including 12 mycosis fungoides, four pleomorphic CTCL, and one CD8+ CTCL, were investigated for epidermal IL-8 and IP-10 mRNA expression by RNA in situ hybridization. In addition, the expression of monokine induced by gamma-interferon (Mig) mRNA, a CXC chemokine closely related to IP-10, was studied as well. The expression of IL-8 receptors A and B (CXCR1 and CXCR2, respectively) was investigated by immunohistochemistry. The results were correlated with the number and phenotype of epidermotropic T cells. Epidermal expression of IP-10 and Mig mRNA was detected in 10 of 11 and seven of 11 epidermotropic CTCL, respectively, but not in five nonepidermotropic CTCL biopsies or normal human skin. Epidermal IP-10 and Mig mRNA expression correlated with epidermal infiltration of CD4+ T cells, but not of CD8+ T cells. IL-8 mRNA was demonstrated in the epidermis of only two of 15 CTCL biopsies, and was associated, in both cases, with accumulation of neutrophils. Consistently, immunostaining of the (intraepidermal) T cells with antibodies against CXCR1 and CXCR2 was not observed. In conclusion, the results of this study indicate that IP-10, and to a lesser extent Mig, but not IL-8 is involved in the preferential infiltration of neoplastic CD4+ T cells in CTCL.

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