, Volume 288, Issue 8, pp 442-446

Decreased expression of filaggrin in atopic skin

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The amounts of the epidermal proteins filaggrin, involucrin, cystatin A and Tad-H-1 antigen produced during the terminal differentiation of keratinocytes were immunohistochemically measured in lesional and nonlesional skin of atopic dermatitis (AD) patients. In addition, the amount of filaggrin in the skin of the inner surface of the upper arm of AD patients (nonlesional skin) and normal controls, obtained by punch biopsy, was measured by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technique. The immunohistochemical study showed that all four proteins were decreased in lesional skin. By contrast, only filaggrin was decreased in nonlesional skin of AD patients. The ELISA showed that the amount of filaggrin in the skin of the inner surface of the upper arm was 2.48±0.45 μg/7 mm2 (n=8) in AD patients, which was 32% of that in the normal controls (7.7±0.55 μg/7 mm2;n=4). This decrease in filaggrin production in atopic skin may be one of the reasons why atopic skin can easily become dry, because filaggrin is thought to be the precursor protein of the emollient factors in the stratum corneum. The evidence that only the expression of filaggrin was suppressed in AD patients, though the genes of filaggrin and involucrin are localized to a very restricted portion of the same gene 1q21, indicates that the filaggrin gene does not share regulatory elements with the involucrin gene.