Congenitally or early impaired skin barrier as the first event starting the ‘atopic march’ in atopic dermatitis (AD) patients can increase allergen penetration that results in sensitization, even in the airways, followed by asthma and allergic rhinitis. Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is a cytokine existing in high levels in AD skin and is considered as a novel therapeutic target for atopic disease. We generated oxazolone (Ox)-induced AD-like (Ox-AD) hairless mice and divided them into four groups according to the therapeutic challenges: topical glucocorticoid, pimecrolimus, emollient, and control (acetone-only treated). We assessed the functional studies of skin barrier, epidermal expressions of differentiation markers, IL-1α, TNF-α, proteinase-activated receptor-2 (PAR-2), TSLP and antimicrobial peptides (AMP), and serum IgE in each group. Topical glucocorticoid or pimecrolimus treatment improved AD-like skin lesions and barrier functions, and restored the epidermal expression of differentiation markers, IL-1α, TNF-α, PAR-2, and TSLP, in Ox-AD mice. The improvement was relatively better with the glucocorticoid than pimecrolimus. Epidermal AMP expression was restored by topical glucocorticoid, but not pimecrolimus. Our result showed that topical glucocorticoid or pimecrolimus improved the AD-like skin lesions and barrier impairment by suppressing TSLP-related allergic inflammation.
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