Epidermal Cytokines and the Induction of Allergic and Non-Allergic Contact Dermatitis
The term contact dermatitis describes the local cutaneous inflammatory reaction provoked by skin exposure to certain chemicals. Some materials have the potential directly to induce irritant reactions at the site of contact. Alternatively, the appearance of contact dermatitis may reflect an allergic reaction. Following primary exposure of susceptible individuals to a contact allergen an immune response is initiated that results in long-lived allergic sensitization. If the sensitized individual is exposed subsequently to the same chemical allergen then a more aggressive secondary immune response is elicited that results in the manifestation of allergic contact dermatitis. Clearly some chemicals are able to cause both irritant and allergic contact dermatitis; the operational distinction being that such agents are likely to induce allergic reactions in sensitized individuals at concentrations below those that are necessary for the development of irritant responses in individuals who are not sensitized. The purpose of this article is to consider the roles epidermal cytokines play in the induction of contact dermatitis, and in particular their influence on the behaviour of epidermal Langerhans cells and immunological processes.
KeywordsContact Dermatitis Drain Lymph Node Allergic Contact Dermatitis Contact Hypersensitivity Cutaneous Immune Response
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