, Volume 288, Issue 10, pp 579-585

Langerhans cell hyperplasia and IgE expression in canine atopic dermatitis

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Langerhans cells appear to be critical for IgE-mediated allergen capture and presentation in human atopic dermatitis. The present study sought to determine whether epidermal (i.e Langerhans cells) and dermal dendritic cells in the skin of dogs with atopic dermatitis are hyperplastic and expressed surface IgE. Frozen sections of lesional or nonlesional atopic and normal control canine skin were immunostained with CD1a-, CD1c-, and IgE-specific monoclonal antibodies. The enumeration of cells was performed by morphometry in both the epidermis and the dermis. Cell counts were compared with each individual’s total serum IgE levels. Higher numbers of epidermal and dermal dendritic cells were present in atopic dogs than in normal control animals. Epidermal Langerhans cell counts were significantly higher in lesional than in nonlesional atopic specimens. IgE+ dendritic cells were observed in lesional atopic epidermis and dermis, and nonlesional atopic dermis, but not in normal control skin specimens. The percentages of IgE+ dendritic cells were correlated with each patient’s total serum IgE levels. These results demonstrate dendritic cell hyperplasia and IgE expression in canine atopic dermatitis. Increased epidermal Langerhans cell counts in lesional specimens suggest an epidermal allergen contact in canine atopic dermatitis.