The role of interleukin 5 and interferon gamma in the pathomechanism of allergic contact dermatitis to nickel

Ewa Czarnobilska, Bartosz Jenner, M. Kapusta, Krystyna Obtulowicz, J. Kaszuba-Zwoinska, Piotr Thor, Katarzyna Curzytek, Radoslaw Spiewak

Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland, and Institute of Dermatology, Celimun Biomedical Research, Krakow, Poland

Source: Czarnobilska E, Jenner B, Kapusta M, Obtulowicz K, Kaszuba-Zwoinska J, Thor P, Curzytek K, Spiewak R. The role of interleukin 5 and interferon gamma in the pathomechanism of allergic contact dermatitis to nickel. J Physiol Pharmacol 2007; 58 (Suppl 4: First International Conference "Medical Biology and Human Life"): 68.

Introduction: Traditionally, allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) has been associated with the activity of Th1 lymphocytes that secrete interferon gamma. Recent evidence indicates that other cells, e.g. Th2 or Tc2 may be the key effectors of ACD.

Aims: To assess the influence of nickel-specific IFN-gamma secretion (marker of Th1 and Tc1 activity) and IL-5 secretion (Th2 and Tc2) on the clinical outcome (patch test score) in nickel-allergic patients.

Material and methods: 40 women with suspicion of ACD were involved, aged from 14 to 54 (median 31.5) years. They were patch tested with NiSO4. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from study participants were cultured and analysed for IFN-gamma and IL-5 secretion in response to NiSO4. A series of statistical models (classical logit or cloglog link function) were used.

Results: Nickel-specific IL-5 secretion by PBMC was shown to determine significantly the intensity of patch test reaction (p=0.05), with no significant effect of IFN-gamma. In overall, an increase in nickel-specific IL-5 secretion by 10 pg/ml is associated with a 10-20% increase (depending on statistical model) in the odds ratio of the patient to have a higher patch test score.

Conclusions: These observations support the assumption that cells secreting IL-5 (e.g. Th2, Tc2) play a role in the pathogenesis of ACD, which is more important than previously suspected.

Related articles:

  1. Spiewak R, Moed H, von Blomberg BME, Bruynzeel DP, Scheper RJ, Gibbs S, Rustemeyer T. Allergic contact dermatitis to nickel: Modified in vitro test protocols for better detection of allergen-specific response. Contact Dermatitis 2007, 56 (2): 63-69.
  2. Spiewak R. Patch testing for contact allergy and allergic contact dermatitis. Open Allergy J 2008, 1: 42-51.


Institute of Dermatology, Krakow, Poland

English-speaking dermatologist in Krakow (Cracow), Poland

Deutschsprechender Hautarzt in Krakow (Krakau), Polen

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Document created: 17 October 2008, last updated: 25 November 2021.