Cutaneous infiltration of activated CD4+ T cells and eosinophils is an early event in blister formation during bullous pemphigoid (BP), suggesting that the trafficking of circulating leucocytes through the sites of inflammation, their activation and cytokine release is crucial in the pathogenesis of the disease. IL-16 is a major chemotactic factor able to recruit CD4+ cells in the skin during inflammation and to induce the expression of functional high-affinity interleukin (IL)-2 receptors, thus contributing to cellular activation and proliferation. We performed a study in order to evaluate the presence of IL-16 in skin samples and sera and blister fluids of patients affected with BP in active phase of the disease (n = 39), compared with healthy donors studied as control group. Ten patients were also evaluated before and after steroid therapy. Our results demonstrated that IL-16 was expressed strongly by keratinocytes and by dermal infiltrating CD4 + T lymphocytes in lesional skin of BP patients. High levels of IL-16 were detected in sera and blisters of BP, significantly higher in respect to healthy donors. When patients were investigated for the presence of eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) and soluble CD30 (sCD30) to reveal signs of eosinophils and Th2-cells activation, we found a positive correlation between IL-16 serum levels and both ECP and sCD30, suggesting that IL-16 is involved in Th2 lymphocytes and eosinophils recruitment during BP.
- Bullous pemphigoid
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