Increased production of vascular endothelial growth factor in the lesions of atopic dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease characterized by severe itching, erythema and edema resistant to anti-histamine therapy. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent agent that causes hyperpermeability of blood vessels and endothelial cell proliferation, and might be involved in the persisting erythema and edema in AD. In this study, we used extraction of stratum corneum with physiological saline to detect VEGF produced in the lesions of AD. Biological activity of VEGF was assayed by proliferation of cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells in vitro. As a result, we found that the amount of VEGF produced in lesional scales was approximately 25 times higher than that in normal stratum corneum. Moreover, VEGF 121 isoform that exclusively induces hyperpermeability of blood vessels was a predominant component in the lesional scales suggesting that this factor plays an important role in the persisting erythema and edema in the AD lesions.