Malassezia sympodialis differently affects the expression of LL-37 in dendritic cells from atopic eczema patients and healthy individuals


Birgitta Agerberth
Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics
Chemistry I
Karolinska Institute
SE 171 77 Stockholm


Background:  Atopic eczema (AE) is a multifactorial disease, which has increased in prevalence. The skin-colonizing yeast Malasezzia sympodialis can induce IgE- and T-cell reactivity in patients with AE. LL-37 is an endogenous peptide antibiotic belonging to the cathelicidin family. The aim of this study was to examine whether exposure to M. sympodialis would affect the expression of LL-37 in dendritic cells.

Methods:  The presence of LL-37 was analyzed in monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MDDCs) generated from healthy individuals and patients with AE by Western blotting and the corresponding cDNA by real-time quantitative RT-PCR. Antibacterial activity was measured with an inhibition zone assay in fractions after reverse phase chromatography.

Results:  For the first time we here present data, showing that LL-37 is produced by MDDCs. Notably, the secretion of LL-37 was substantially enhanced in M. sympodialis-exposed MDDCs generated from patients with a high degree of eczema, as measured by SCORAD, compared to healthy controls and patients with a low SCORAD. The relative expression of LL-37 transcript in MDDCs generated from patients was up-regulated after 1 h of exposure to M. sympodialis and declined gradually at the time points analyzed, whereas the transcription was unaffected in the MDDCs of healthy controls.

Conclusions:  Our results suggest that M. sympodialis can trigger the innate immune response differently in patients with AE and healthy individuals. The enhanced LL-37 secretion from the MDDCs in the patients with AE may reflect the severity of their inflammatory response to M. sympodialis.