Increased expression of cell adhesion molecule 1 by mast cells as a cause of enhanced nerve–mast cell interaction in a hapten-induced mouse model of atopic dermatitis


  • Funding sources
    This study was supported by grants from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.

  • Conflicts of interest
    None declared.

Akihiko Ito.


Background  Neuroimmunological disorders are involved in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis (AD), partly through enhanced sensory nerve–skin mast cell interaction. Cell adhesion molecule 1 (CADM1) is a mast-cell adhesion molecule that mediates the adhesion to, and communication with, sympathetic nerves.

Objectives  To investigate the role of mast cell CADM1 in the pathogenesis of AD, CADM1 expression levels by comparing between lesional and nonlesional skin mast cells of an AD mouse model, which was developed by repeated application of trinitrochlorobenzene, and to examine, in cocultures, how the alterations in CADM1 detected in lesional mast cells might affect the sensory nerve–mast cell interaction.

Methods  AD-like lesional and nonlesional skin mast cells were collected separately by laser capture microdissection. CADM1 expression was examined by reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction and CADM1 immunohistochemistry. In cocultures, adhesion between dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurites and IC2 mast cells was analysed by loading a femtosecond laser-induced impulsive force on neurite-attendant IC2 cells, while cellular communication was monitored as the IC2 cellular response ([Ca2+]i increase) after nerve-specific stimulant-induced DRG activation.

Results  AD-like lesional mast cells expressed three-fold more CADM1 transcripts than nonlesional cells. This was supported at the protein level, shown by immunohistochemistry. In coculture, CADM1 overexpression in IC2 cells strengthened DRG neurite–IC2 cell adhesion and doubled the population of IC2 cells responding to DRG activation. A function-blocking anti-CADM1 antibody abolished these effects in a dose-dependent manner.

Conclusions  Increased expression of CADM1 in mast cells appeared to be a cause of enhanced sensory nerve–mast cell interaction in a hapten-induced mouse model of AD.