Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease, which is accompanied by marked increases in the levels of inflammatory cells, including mast cells and eosinophils as well as T cells and macrophages. To investigate the expression pattern of chemokines in AD, a house dust mite, Dermatophagoides farinae extracts (DfE)-induced NC/Nga AD model was developed in mice, and this model was used to determine the expression levels of chemokines in atopic lesions using DNA microarrays and RT-PCR. When NC/Nga mice were repeatedly treated with DfE for 4 to 7 weeks on the back skin, the mRNA expression levels of CCL20/LARC, CCL24/eotaxin-2, CCL17/TARC, and CCL11/eotaxin-1 were markedly induced and lesser of CCL2/MCP-1, within the inflammatory lesion of the back skin. Immunohistochemical staining revealed the expression of these chemokines in the epidermis and dermis of DfE-treated NC/Nga mice. Interestingly, repeated application of tacrolimus ointment potently inhibited DfE-induced atopic dermatitis in NC/Nga mice concomitant with the inhibition of these changes in chemokine gene and protein expression levels particularly of CCL20/LARC, CCL17/TARC, and CCL11/eotaxin-1. These data indicate that severe atopic dermatitis induced by DfE accompanies elevated chemokine levels, and it was proposed that tacrolimus ointment is beneficial for the treatment of severe AD.
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