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Allergology Review

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  Authority of Polish Society of Allergology

vol 12. no 2. June 2007  

 Original articles
Number and distribution of CD1a+ epidermal cells at the site of elicitation of contact hypersensitivity reaction

Introduction. Contact hypersensitivity response (CHS) occurs as a result of dendritic cell (DC) and lymphocyte T activity, resulting in contact dermatitis. Experimental CHS is induced by epicutaneous application of various haptens, such as diphenylcyclopropenone (DPCP), and its presence indicates that the antigen-presenting cells and lymphocytes T have retained their activity. In the course of inflammatory processes, three populations of DCs (including Langerhans cells) can be detected in the skin. Their common immunohistochemical marker is the CD1a molecule.
Aim of the study. The aim of our study was to evaluate the role of epidermal dendritic cells in the development of contact hypersensitivity response.
Material and methods. The study group consisted of 50 healthy volunteers. Ten individuals served as the controls. Forty subjects were sensitized with DPCP to be subjected three weeks later to elicitation. The intensity of the CHS response was determined 48 h later. Subsequently, the challenged sites were biopsied and then histological and immunohistochemical examinations (with anti-CD1a monoclonal antibodies) were performed. Epidermal thickness, spongiosis intensity and the number and distribution of epidermal CD1a+ cells were assessed.
Results. In the control group, the mean epidermal thickness was statistically lower (0.061 mm) than in the sensitised subjects (0.207mm) (p<0.05). While in the controls no spongiosis was noted, in the challenged volunteers it was detected in 85% of the analysed samples. Epidermal CD1a+ cells in the control group (420.84/mm2) were located in the suprabasal layer, whereas in the challenged site their number was significantly higher (1174.38/mm2; p<0.00001) and they were scattered throughout the whole epidermis.
Conclusions. An increased number of CD1a+ cells at challenged sites suggests enhanced activity of the antigen presenting cells and points to their role in contact hypersensitivity response development.

keywords: komórki dendrytyczne, CD1a, reakcja nadwrażliwości kontaktowej, alergia kontaktowa, dendritic cells, CD1a, contact hypersensitivity response, contact allergy

pages: from 92 to 97

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