Allergic contact dermatitis - Effector and regulatory mechanisms

Andrea Cavani, Silvia Sebastiani, Francesca Nasorri, Cristina Albanesi, Giampiero Girolomoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) is a common disease consisting of pruriginous erithematous-vesicular eruption localized at the site of penetration of small molecular weight chemicals, called haptens. Methods: The availablity of valuable animal models and gentically altered mice, as well as new in vitro methdologies for T-cell isolation and characterization, greatly improved knowledge on the mechanisms of induction and regulation of ACD. Results: Both mouse and human studies have provided evidence that ACD is a highly regulated phenomenon. CD8+ and Th1 CD4+ T lymphocytes expressing the cutaneous lymphocyte-associated antigen are the major effector cell populations involved in the disease, and mediated the tissue damage through direct cytotoxic mechanisms and the release of proinflammatory cytokines. Hapten-specific CD4+ T cells also comprise specialized lymphocytes with regulatory functions, which appear to be involved in the termination of the immune reaction and in the control of hapten-specific T-cell responses in nonallergic individuals. Conclusions: Recent advances in understanding the pathogenesis of ACD have a great impact on the development of new therapeutic strategies for immune-mediated skin diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-160
Number of pages5
JournalAllergy and Clinical Immunology International
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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