Background: Interleukin (IL)-13 is a T-cell-derived cytokine that shares several functions with IL-4, including the induction of immunoglobulin E synthesis. Recent studies suggest that cytokines expressed locally in the skin play several critical roles in atopic dermatitis (AD), however, little is known about the role of IL-13 in AD lesions. Objectives: The present study was designed to characterize the involvement of IL-13 in AD in the skin and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Methods: Using lesional and nonlesional skin from adult AD patients and normal skin from healthy volunteers, we performed RT-PCR, in situ RT and immunostaining to determine the IL-13 expression at the mRNA and protein levels. The actual numbers of IL-13 expressing cells in biopsy specimens were counted under the microscope. IL-13 mRNA expression in PBMC from AD patients and healthy volunteers was examined by RT-PCR analysis. Results: IL-13 mRNA expression was detected by RT-PCR in lesional and nonlesional skin and in PBMC from AD patients, but not in normal skin or PBMC from healthy volunteers. In AD lesional skin, numerous IL-13 mRNA-positive cells were demonstrated by in situ RT, and similar numbers of IL-13-positive cells were also detected immunohistochemically. Smaller numbers of IL-13-positive cells were observed in AD nonlesional skin and in normal skin. The differences in the numbers of IL-13-expressing cells between lesional and nonlesional skin were statistically significant. Double immunostaining revealed that IL-13 was produced in approximately 40% of T cells and 20% of mast cells in AD lesional skin, suggesting that T cells and mast cells are major sources of IL-13 in AD lesions. Conclusion: IL-13 may play a local as well as a systemic role in the development of AD lesions.

1.
Stone SP, Muller SA, Gleich GJ: IgE levels in atopic dermatitis. Arch Dermatol 1973;108:806–811.
2.
Jujo K, Renz H, Abe J, Gelfand EW, Leung DYM: Decreased interferon gamma and increased interleukin-4 production in atopic dermatitis promotes IgE synthesis. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1992;90:323–331.
3.
Tang MLK, Kemp AS: Spontaneous expression of IL-4 mRNA in lymphocytes from children with atopic dermatitis. Clin Exp Immunol 1994;97:491–498.
4.
Hamid Q, Boguniewicz M, Leung DYM: Differential in situ cytokine gene expression in acute versus chronic atopic dermatitis. J Clin Invest 1994;94:870–876.
5.
Kapsenberg ML, Wierenga EA, Bos JD, Jansen HM: Functional subsets of allergen-reactive human CD4+ T cells. Immunol Today 1991;12:392–395.
6.
Grewe M, Gyufko K, Schöpf E, Krutmann J: Lesional expression of interferon-γ in atopic eczema. Lancet 1994;343:25–26.
7.
Minty A, Chalon P, Derocq JM, Dumont X, Guillemot J-C, Kaghad M, Labit C, Leplatois P, Liauzun P, Miloux B, Minty C, Casellas P, Loison G, Lupker J, Shire D, Ferrara P, Caput D: Interleukin-13 is a new human lymphokine regulating inflammatory and immune responses. Nature 1993;362:248–250.
8.
Zurawski G, de Vries JE: Interleukin 13, an interleukin 4-like cytokine that acts on monocytes and B cells, but not on T cells. Immunol Today 1994;15:19–26.
9.
Pawankar RU, Okuda M, Hasegawa S, Suzuki K, Yssel H, Okubo K, Okumura K, Ra C: Interleukin-13 expression in the nasal mucosa of perennial allergic rhinitis. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1995;152:2059–2067.
10.
Hamid Q, Naseer T, Minshall EM, Song YL, Boguniewicz M, Leung DYM: In vivo expression of IL-12 and IL-13 in atopic dermatitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1996;98:225–231.
11.
Hanifin JM, Rajka G: Diagnostic features of atopic dermatitis. Acta Derm Venereol 1980;92(suppl):44–47.
12.
Burd PR, Thompson WC, Max EE, Mills FC: Activated mast cells produce interleukin 13. J Exp Med 1995;181:1373–1380.
13.
Ochensberger B, Daepp GC, Rihs S, Dahinden CA: Human blood basophils produce interleukin-13 in response to IgE-receptor-dependent and -independent activation. Blood 1996;88:3028–3037.
14.
Akdis A, Akdis M, Simon D, Dibbert B, Weber M, Gratzl S, Kreyden O, Disch R, Wüthrich B, Blaser K, Simon H-U: T-cells and T-cell-derived cytokines as pathogenic factors in the nonallergic form of atopic dermatitis. J Invest Dermatol 1999;113:628–634.
15.
Takamatsu Y, Hasegawa M, Sato S, Takehara K: IL-13 production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with atopic dermatitis. Dermatology 1998;196:377–381.
16.
Sato A, Tsuji K, Yamamura M, Morita Y, Kanzaki H, Tada J, Makino H, Arata J: Increased type 2 cytokine expression by both CD4+CD45RO+ T cells and CD8+CD45RO+ T cells in blood circulation is associated with high serum IgE but not with atopic dermatitis. J Invest Dermatol 1998;111:1079–1084.
17.
Farrell AM, Antrobus P, Simpson D, Powell S, Chapel HM, Ferry BL: A rapid flow cytometric assay to detect CD4+ and CD8+ T-helper (Th) 0, Th1 and Th2 cells in whole blood and its application to study cytokine levels in atopic dermatitis before and after cyclosporin therapy. Br J Dermatol 2001;144:24–33.
Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.
You do not currently have access to this content.