Eosinophils are a Major Source of Interleukin-31 in Bullous Pemphigoid
Urda Rüdrich, Manuela Gehring, Eleni Papakonstantinou, Anja Illerhaus, Judith Engmann, Alexander Kapp, Karin Hartmann, N. Helge Meyer, Bernhard F. Gibbs, Ulrike Raap
Bullous pemphigoid (BP) is characterized by substantial skin and blood eosinophilia as well as intensive pruritus. Since the pruritogenic cytokine interleukin (IL)-31 is increased in inflammatory skin diseases the aim of this study was to determine whether IL-31 plays a role in BP. Using immunofluorescence, IL-31 expression was analysed in eosinophils derived from blister fluids and skin from patients with BP and IL-31 levels in blister fluids, serum and culture supernatants were determined by enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA). High levels of IL-31 expression were observed in BP blister fluids, but they were only marginally elevated in BP serum compared with healthy controls. Eosinophils from either BP blister fluids or skin biopsies showed strong expression of IL-31. Furthermore, peripheral blood eosinophils from patients with BP, but not healthy controls, released high levels of IL-31, reflecting those in blister fluids. In conclusion, eosinophils are a major source of IL-31 in BP and this cytokine may contribute to itch in patients with BP.