Increased frequency of interleukin-4 and reduced frequency of interferon-γ and IL-17-producing CD4+ and CD8+ cells in scleromyxedema

F. Kalli, M. Cioni, A. Parodi, T. Altosole, F. Ferrera, G. Barra, R. De Palma, D. Fenoglio, G. Filaci, F. Rongioletti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Little is known about the pathogenesis of scleromyxedema, a life-threatening fibromucinosis disease with immunological dysregulation. Objectives: To investigate on T-cell phenotype, function and cytokine biology in search of new insights supporting the immunopathogenesis of the disease. Methods: We analysed the frequency of circulating lymphocyte subsets, the T-cell maturation stage, the generation of antigen-specific T-cell lines and T-cell cytokine secretion. Results: The analysis of T-cell maturation stage and the TCR spectratyping findings revealed that scleromyxedema patients showed clear immunological signs of long-lasting immune system activation and stimulation leading to a skewed T-cell repertoire. Moreover, these analyses showed that both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from scleromyxedema patients have a profound deficiency (even after stimulation) relatively to the production of IFN-γ and IL17 with respect to healthy donor control cells, while they are massively skewed towards IL4 secretion after stimulation. Conclusions: Our data indicate that a chronic Th2-skewed T-cell response against an unknown target antigen leading to abnormally high IL4 secretion, a pro-fibrotic cytokine, is a main immunological hallmark of scleromyxedema patients. These results, never reported before, may have a translational therapeutic value due to the availability of anti-IL4 agents such as dupilumab.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Diseases


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