Background Maculopapular exanthema has been reported to be the most frequently drug-induced cutaneous reaction. Although T lymphocytes are involved in the pathomechanism of this disease, little is know about the recruitment of these cells to the skin.
Objective The aim of this work is to study the role of the chemokines TARC/CCL17 and MDC/CCL22 in the lymphocyte trafficking to affected skin in drug-induced exanthemas.
Methods Real-time PCR was performed to quantify gene expression levels of CCL17, CCL22 and their receptor CCR4 in lesional skin biopsies and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients. CCL27 and CCL22 proteins were detected in the skin by immunochemistry. Protein expression of CCR4 was determined by flow cytometry in peripheral blood lymphocytes. Functional migration assays to CCL17 and CCL22 were assessed to compare the migratory responses of peripheral blood lymphocytes from patients and healthy subjects.
Results CCL17 and CCL22 were up-regulated in maculopapular exanthema-affected skin. CCR4 mRNA levels and protein expression were increased in peripheral blood mononuclear cells during the acute phase of the disease. The increased expression of the receptor was consistent with a higher response of peripheral blood lymphocytes to CCL17 and CCL22 compared with the migratory response in healthy donors.
Conclusion TARC/CCL17 and MDC/CCL22 might cooperate in attracting T lymphocytes to skin in drug-induced maculopapular exanthemas.