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Abstract

Background

Chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) is a common skin disorder, which is considered in a subset of patients to be an autoimmune disorder. T helper 17 (Th17) cells are crucially involved in the pathogenesis of some autoimmune diseases.

Objectives

Our aim was to test the association of Th17 with CSU. We examined interleukin (IL)-17, IL-23 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) serum levels in CSU patients and studied their association with urticaria activity and autologous serum skin test (ASST).

Subjects and methods

Serum concentration of IL-17, IL-23 and TNF-α were measured in 75 patients with CSU and 30 healthy control subjects. Disease activity was assessed by using urticaria activity score (UAS) as recommended by EAACI/GA2LEN/EDF/WAO Guidelines.

Results

Serum concentration of IL-17, IL-23 and TNF-α were significantly higher in CSU patients as compared with the healthy control subjects (mean: 35.51 ± 31.14 vs. 4.60 ± 1.38 pg/mL; < 0.001, 38.95 ± 27.82 vs. 9.87 ± 4.62 pg/mL; > 0.001 and 17.93 ± 6.05 vs. 6.87 ± 3.73 pg/mL; = 0.004, respectively). There were significant positive correlation between serum IL-17, IL-23, TNF-α and disease activity assessed by cumulative UAS for 7 days before blood sampling. The Serum concentration of IL-17, IL-23 and TNF-α were also significantly higher in ASST positive patients than in ASST negative patients.

Conclusion

Our results showed high serum levels of IL-17, IL-23 and TNF-α among CSU patients which may highlight a functional role of these cytokines in the pathogenesis of this important and common skin disease. It also may provide the rationale for new treatment strategies in chronic urticaria.