Neuropeptides in skin from patients with atopic dermatitis: an immunohistochemical study


Dr Carlo Pincelli, Department of Dermatology, University of Modena, Via del Pozzo 71, 41100 Modena, Italy.


The distribution and localization of several neuropeptides were investigated in the lichenified lesions of 11 patients with atopic dermatitis using indirect immunofluorescence. Substance P-positive nerve fibres were observed in most of the cases of atopic dermatitis, but not in normal controls. Somatostatin immunoreactive nerves were not found in the skin of atopic dermatitis, whereas a normal pattern of immunoreactivity could be detected in most of the healthy subjects. Neuropeptide Y-positive dendritic epidermal cells were observed in lesional skin from patients with atopic dermatitis, but not in controls. Calcitonin gene-related peptide and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide immunoreactivity in patients with atopic dermatitis did not differ from that in healthy subjects. With galanin antiserum a diffuse intracellular staining was observed in the epidermis of both atopic patients and controls, while no positive staining was found with either neurotensin or neurokinin A antibodies in either group. These findings suggest a possible involvement of some neuropeptides in the pathomechanisms of atopic dermatitis.