IL-31 Expression by Inflammatory Cells is Preferentially Elevated in Atopic Dermatitis
Stephan Nobbe, Piotr Dziunycz , Beda Mühleisen , Janine Bilsborough, Stacey R. Dillon, Lars E. French, Günther F.L. Hofbauer
Interleukin-31 (IL-31) is a recently discovered cytokine expressed in many human tissues, and predominantly by activated CD4+ T cells. IL-31 signals through a heterodimeric receptor consisting of IL-31 receptor alpha (IL-31RA) and oncostatin M receptor beta (OSMR). Earlier studies have shown involvement of IL-31 and its receptor components IL-31RA and OSMR in atopic dermatitis, pruritus and Th2-weighted inflammation at the mRNA level. The aim of this study was to investigate IL-31 protein expression in skin of such conditions. Immunohistochemical staining for IL-31, IL-31RA and OSMR was performed in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded biopsy specimens. IL-31 expression was increased in the inflammatory infiltrates from skin biopsies taken from subjects with atopic dermatitis, compared with controls (p ≤ 0.05). IL-31, IL-31RA and OSMR protein immunoreactivity was not increased in biopsies from subjects with other Th2-weighted and pruritic skin diseases. Our results confirm, at the protein level, the relationship between IL-31 expression and atopic dermatitis. Our results do not support a general relationship between expression of IL-31/IL-31R and pruritic or Th2-mediated diseases.