Our aim was to assess whether the presence of highly active effector T cells in atopic dermatitis (AD) is associated with changes in the number and/or function of regulatory T cells (Tregs). Flow cytometry was utilised to determine the percentage of CD4+CD25brightCD127–/low-FOXP3+ and skin-homing CLA+CD4+CD25brightFOXP3+ Tregs in healthy controls and AD patients. The correlation between disease severity and Treg percentages was estimated. Treg suppressor activity and cell proliferation were measured after T-cell stimulation. Significantly increased percentages of Tregs were found in AD patients compared to healthy individuals, and significant correlation between the frequency of Tregs and disease severity was also detected. The otherwise normal suppressor activity of Tregs decreased in the presence of Staphylococcus enterotoxin B (SEB). In conclusion, the continuous presence of SEB can trigger an acquired functional impairment of Tregs in AD patients and the correlation between the increased frequency of Tregs and disease severity supports their important role in AD pathogenesis.
- Atopic dermatitis
- Cutaneous lymphocyte-associated antigen
- Regulatory T cells
- Staphylococcus enterotoxin B
ASJC Scopus subject areas