Archives of Dermatological Research

, Volume 290, Issue 4, pp 198–204

Cutaneous reactions and sensations after intracutaneous injection of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide and acetylcholine in atopic eczema patients and healthy controls

  • R. Rukwied
  • G. Heyer
Original paper

DOI: 10.1007/s004030050290

Cite this article as:
Rukwied, R. & Heyer, G. Arch Dermatol Res (1998) 290: 198. doi:10.1007/s004030050290

Abstract We analysed vasoreactions and sensations of atopic eczema (AE) patients and healthy controls after intracutaneous (i.c.) injection of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) and acetylcholine (ACh). Blood flow was measured by laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF). Plasma extravasation and flare size were evaluated planimetrically, and sensations were recorded using visual analog scales. Three groups of subjects (controls, AE patients suffering from acute eczema and AE patients during a symptom-free period) were investigated. We administered VIP separately at concentrations of 1.5 × 10–7, 1.5 × 10–6 and 1.5 × 10–5M and in combination with ACh (5.5 × 10–6M) into the volar forearm of the subjects. Both substances led to an increase in LDF measurements and induced a wheal and flare reaction. Blood flow was elevated as a function of dose after a single VIP application in all groups. Compared with healthy controls, a significant increase in blood flow was measured after combined VIP and ACh administration in AE patients suffering from acute AE, whereas flare area and plasma extravasation were significantly reduced after single VIP and combined VIP and ACh injections, respectively. In all groups, VIP induced dose-dependent pruritus. Compared with a control stimulus (0.9% sodium chloride and ACh), combined injections of VIP and ACh had no additional effect on the magnitude of the sensation. In AE patients, the intensity was similar to that experienced by the control subjects, but the quality of sensation was different: ACh induced pain in the control subjects, pruritus in AE patients, and a mixture of pain and itching in AE patients showing no symptoms. Our results suggest that VIP- and ACh-induced skin reactions and the quality of the sensations depend on the activity of the atopic eczema. Confirming our former studies, AE patients develop a different quality of sensation after ACh administration and also after administration of VIP combined with ACh. Therefore, we suggest that ACh might be involved in the pathomechanisms of pruritus in AE.

Key words Atopic eczema Pruritus VIP Acetylcholine 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Rukwied
    • 2
  • G. Heyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Dermatology, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Hartmannstr. 14, 91052 Erlangen, Germany Telefax 09131/853854DE
  2. 2.Institute of Physiology and Experimental Pathophysiology, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Universitätsstr. 17, 91054 Erlangen, GermanyDE