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Keywords:

  • atopic dermatitis;
  • FoxP3;
  • miltefosine;
  • regulatory T cell;
  • thermographic imaging

To cite this article: Dölle S, Hoser D, Rasche C, Loddenkemper C, Maurer M, Zuberbier T, Worm M. Long-term reduction in local inflammation by a lipid raft molecule in atopic dermatitis. Allergy 2010; 65: 1158–1165.

Abstract

Background:  The complex pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis (AD) is guided by cell surface receptor-mediated signal transduction regulated in lipid rafts. Miltefosine is a raft-modulating molecule targeting cell membranes. With this controlled clinical study, the clinical and immunomodulatory efficacy of miltefosine was investigated in patients with AD in comparison with a topical corticosteroid treatment.

Methods:  Sixteen patients with AD were treated topically with miltefosine and hydrocortisone localized on representative AD target lesions for 3 weeks. To assess the clinical efficacy, the three item severity (TIS) score was evaluated before, during and after treatment as well as after 4-week-follow-up period. To study the anti-inflammatory effect of miltefosine on the cellular T cell pattern, skin biopsies were analysed before and after treatment.

Results:  The TIS score dropped in both groups significantly after treatment. A carry-over effect was exclusively seen for miltefosine after discontinuing the treatment. These findings were substantiated by thermographic imaging with a significant decrease in the maximum temperature (Tmax) after miltefosine application (P = 0.034, ΔTmax = 1.7°C [2.1–3.9]). Immunohistochemically, a reduction in lesional CD4+-infiltrating T cells was observed in both treatments. Moreover, increased FoxP3+ cells were present in the skin after miltefosine treatment (before 5.4% [1.9–9.8], after 6.2% [3.5–9.5]).

Conclusion:  We demonstrate that miltefosine is locally active in patients with AD and led to a sustained clinical improvement in local skin inflammation. Moreover, the increased frequency of FoxP3+ cells in the skin of patients with AD suggests its immunomodulatory properties.