Effect of atopic skin stressors on natural moisturizing factors and cytokines in healthy adult epidermis

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BACKGROUND: Epidermal deficiency of filaggrin, and the derived natural moisturizing factors (NMFs), is associated with increased risk of atopic dermatitis (AD). While filaggrin gene mutations cause filaggrin deficiency, there is limited insight into the causative environmental factors.

OBJECTIVES: To explore the effect of selected exogenous skin stressors on NMF and skin cytokine levels in healthy adult epidermis.

METHODS: Forty healthy volunteers (aged 18-49 years) were exposed to hard, soft and chlorinated water, 0·5% sodium lauryl sulfate, house dust mite, cat allergen, staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB), cooling and histamine. Participants were tape-stripped and biophysiological measurements performed. NMF was determined after 24 and 48 h, whereas skin cytokines were measured after 24 h for selected exposures.

RESULTS: At 24 h, a significant decrease in NMFs was observed for soft (0·51 ± 0·19 g m-2 h-1 ) and hard water (0·61 ± 0·32 g m-2 h-1 ) compared with occlusion alone (0·71 ± 0·18 g m-2 h-1 ). Hard water led to increased levels of interleukin (IL)-4, interferon (IFN)-γ and IL-10. Exposure to house dust mite and SEB led to a significant decrease in NMFs after 24 h (0·77 ± 0·28 and 0·80 ± 0·28 g m-2 h-1 , respectively) compared with occlusion alone (1·00 ± 0·42 g m-2 h-1 ). House dust mite led to an increase in IFN-γ, IL-2 and IL-4 vs. the nonoccluded control site.

CONCLUSIONS: Based on experimental exposure to selected atopic skin stressors, we conclude that NMFs levels are decreased along with increased secretion of various skin cytokines in healthy individuals. Our data highlight environmental factors that might play a role in AD pathophysiology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)679-688
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2018

ID: 214873457