• atopic dermatitis;
  • stratum corneum;
  • tape-stripping;
  • thymus and activation-regulated chemokine

To cite this article: Morita E, Takahashi H, Niihara H, Dekio I, Sumikawa Y, Murakami Y, Matsunaka H. Stratum corneum TARC level is a new indicator of lesional skin inflammation in atopic dermatitis. Allergy 2010; 65: 1166–1172.


Background:  Management of atopic dermatitis (AD) requires judging the symptoms of local skin lesions and prescribing a suitable treatment. However, no method has been established in which objective measures can be used to evaluate the severity of local symptoms. We established a method for measuring thymus and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC) levels in the stratum corneum (scTARC), and examined whether the scTARC can be used as an indicator of the severity of local skin lesions in patients with AD.

Methods:  Stratum corneum was obtained from patients with AD by tape-stripping, and scTARC was evaluated using a TARC-specific antibody followed by image analysis. The scTARC was examined to determine correlation with the severity of local skin lesions (the severity of erythema, edema/papule, oozing/crusts, excoriations, lichenification, and xerosis) as well as with the severity scoring of atopic dermatitis (SCORAD) index, serum TARC level, serum IgE level, serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) level, interleukin (IL)-4-producing T cell ratio (Th2 cell ratio), and blood eosinophil count.

Results:  The scTARC was correlated with the severity of local skin lesions, especially with the erythema, edema/papule, and oozing/crusts score. The scTARC in the most severe lesions was also correlated with the SCORAD index, serum TARC level, serum IgE level, and blood eosinophil count. The scTARC was not, however, correlated with the serum LDH level and Th2 cell ratio.

Conclusion:  An immunofluorescent technique combined with tape-stripping was used to measure scTARC. The scTARC can be used as an indicator of the severity of local acute inflammation in patients with AD.