Dexamethasone but not tacrolimus suppresses TNF-α-induced thymic stromal lymphopoietin expression in lesional keratinocytes of atopic dermatitis model

Kazuko Mizuno, Shin Morizane, Tetsuya Takiguchi, Keiji Iwatsuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) initiates the Th2-type allergic inflammation, and is thought to play an important role in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis (AD). TNF-α is a key cytokine which is involved in the pathophysiology of various inflammatory diseases, and the expression level is elevated in the sera and skin of patients with AD. In addition, TNF-α has been reported to induce TSLP expression in epidermal keratinocytes. Topical glucocorticoids and calcineurin inhibitors are safe and effective agents for AD, but the effects of these agents on TNF-α-induced TSLP expression are not fully understood. Objective: To investigate whether the glucocorticosteroid dexamethasone and the calcineurin inhibitor tacrolimus could affect TSLP expression induced by TNF-α in lesional keratinocytes of AD. Methods: The effects of topical dexamethasone and tacrolimus on TSLP expression were evaluated in an AD mouse model induced by repeated 2,4,6-trinitro-1-chlorobenzene application. Co-immunostaining for TSLP and TNF-α was performed using skin samples from AD patients and the mouse model. Normal human epidermal keratinocytes (NHEKs) were cultured with dexamethasone or tacrolimus in the presence of TNF-α to analyze TSLP expression. Results: Topical application of dexamethasone but not tacrolimus repressed TSLP expression in the mouse model. TSLP and TNF-α showed similar distribution pattern in epidermal keratinocytes of AD lesions and the mouse model. TSLP expression was induced by TNF-α via NF-κB in a dose-dependent and an autocrine and/or paracrine manner in NHEKs, which was significantly suppressed by dexamethasone but not by tacrolimus. Similarly to TSLP expression, IL-6, TNF-α, IL-8, and IL-36γ expression induced by TNF-α were significantly suppressed by dexamethasone but not by tacrolimus in NHEKs. Conclusion: Dexamethasone but not tacrolimus suppresses the TSLP expression induced by TNF-α in lesional keratinocytes of AD model. Our observations uncover the unreported functional difference between topical glucocorticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors in cutaneous inflammatory diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-53
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of dermatological science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2015



  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Calcineurin inhibitor
  • Glucocorticosteroid
  • Psoriasis
  • Thymic stromal lymphopoietin
  • Tumor necrosis factor-α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology

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