Overexpression of IL-10 in atopic dermatitis: Contrasting cytokine patterns with delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions

J. D. Ohmen, J. M. Hanifin, B. J. Nickoloff, T. H. Rea, R. Wyzykowski, J. Kim, D. Jullien, T. McHugh, A. S. Nassif, S. C. Chan, R. L. Modlin

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289 Scopus citations


The skin lesions of patients with atopic dermatitis provide a model to study immunoregulation in human allergy. To determine the local cytokine pattern of cells present (both endogenous and recruited) at the site of disease, we extracted RNA from skin biopsy specimens from patients with atopic dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, and positive tuberculin reactions and used PCR to assay for cytokine mRNA. cDNAs were normalized to the intensity of the CD3δ PCR product as a marker of T cell mRNA. We found overexpression of IL-10 mRNA in atopic dermatitis lesions, in comparison with allergic contact dermatitis lesions and tuberculin reactions. in contrast, IL-4 mRNA was most strongly expressed in allergic contact dermatitis lesions and IFN-γ, mRNA was the predominant cytokine in tuberculin reactions. Using an anti-IL-10 mAb with immunoperoxidase, we localized IL-10 protein to large mononuclear cells in the dermal infiltrate of atopic lesions. After immunomagnetic sorting of mononuclear cell populations from PBMC of atopic dermatitis subjects, IL-10 mRNA as measured by PCR was found to be strongly expressed in CD14+ cells. Spontaneous release of IL-10 from PBMC-derived adherent cells was greater in atopic dermatitis donors than normal controls. We therefore renormalized skin biopsy cDNA according to the level of β- actin PCR product, as a marker of total cellular mRNA, and found by PCR that IL-10 was nevertheless greatest in atopic dermatitis subjects. We conclude that the relative overexpression of IL-10 in atopic dermatitis may contribute to the up regulation of humoral responses and the down-regulation of Th1 responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1956-1963
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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