Atopic dermatitis in adults: Evaluation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells proliferation response to Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxins A and B and analysis of interleukin-18 secretion

Raquel Leão Orfali, Maria Notomi Sato, Roberto Takaoka, Mayce Helena Azor, Evandro Ararigbóia Rivitti, Jon M. Hanifin, Valéria Aoki

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22 Scopus citations


Background: Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease with a high prevalence and complex pathogenesis. The skin of AD patients is usually colonized by Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus); its exotoxins may trigger or enhance the cutaneous inflammation. Several mediators are related to the AD immune imbalance and interleukin-18 (IL-18), an inflammatory cytokine, may play a role in the atopic skin inflammation. Aims: To evaluate peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) proliferation response to staphylococcal enterotoxins A (SEA) and B (SEB) and the levels of IL-18 in adults with AD. Methods: Thirty-eight adult patients with AD and 33 healthy controls were analysed. PBMC were stimulated with SEA and SEB, phytohemaglutinin (PHA), pokeweed (PWM), tetanus toxoid (TT) and Candida albicans (CMA). IL-18 secretion from PBMC culture supernatants and sera were measured by ELISA. Results: A significant inhibition of the PBMC proliferation response to SEA, PHA, TT and CMA of AD patients was detected (P ≤ 0.05). Furthermore, increased levels of IL-18 were detected both in sera and non-stimulated PBMC culture supernatants from AD patients (P ≤ 0.05). Conclusions: A decreased PBMC proliferation response to distinct antigens and mitogens (TT, CMA, SEA and PHA) in adults with AD suggest a compromised immune profile. IL-18 secretion from AD upon stimulation was similar from controls, which may indicate a diverse mechanism of skin inflammation maintained by Staphylococcus aureus. On the other hand, augmented IL-18 secretion from AD sera and non-stimulated cell culture may enhance the immune dysfunction observed in AD, leading to constant skin inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)628-633
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Dermatology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 17 2009



  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Interleukin 18
  • Proliferation response
  • Staphylococcus enterotoxins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology

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