• atopic dermatitis;
  • B cell activation;
  • proliferation;
  • IgE


We have previously characterized the keratin 14 interleukin-4-transgenic (IL-4-Tg) mouse model of atopic dermatitis as a chronic pruritic inflammatory skin disease typified by skin infiltration of inflammatory cells and early up-regulation of Th2 cytokines and late surge of Th1 cytokines. In the present study, we examined the involvement of B cells. Systematic examinations of the following immunological parameters on B cells were carried out in non-Tg control mice and in IL-4-Tg mice at before disease onset and early and late disease stages so that we could determine the immunological sequence of events leading to the disease development: surface expressions of IA/IE, activation and costimulatory molecules, proliferation under LPS or IgM stimulation, quantification of cell surface and serum IgE, IgG1, and IgG2a. Our results showed that as the disease progresses from before onset to early disease and to late disease, there is a parallel increase in surface markers of B cell activation (IA/IE, CD44, CD69, CD80 and CD86), in B cell proliferation, and in cell surface and serum IgE. Significant increases of Th2-driven serum IgG1 and IgE in early disease was followed by significant increase of Th1-driven IgG2a in late disease. Importantly the significant increases of activation molecule (IA/IE), proliferation (to LPS), and surface IgE on B cells of the IL-4-Tg mice precedes the up-regulation of serum IgE and disease onset. These data suggest that activated B cells may play a role in atopic dermatitis disease development by up-regulating serum IgE concentration, which serves as a marker of disease onset.