Cytokines in alopecia areata: contrasting cytokine profiles in localized form and extensive form (alopecia universalis).
Teraki Y, Imanishi K, Shiohara T
Recent studies have suggested that cytokines play a critical role in the pathophysiology of alopecia areata; however, no information is available regarding the difference in cytokine profiles in these patients. Serum levels of cytokines, including interferon gamma (IFN-gamma), tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin 1 alpha (IL-1 alpha), IL-2, IL-4, and IL-6, were measured using radioimmunoassay or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay techniques in patients with the localized form and the extensive form (alopecia universalis). The serum levels of IL-1 alpha and IL-4 were significantly elevated in patients with the localized form. In contrast, the serum levels of IFN-gamma and IL-2 were significantly elevated in patients with the extensive form. These results indicate that immune responses in the localized form and the extensive form of alopecia areata are regulated by Th2 cytokines and Th1 cytokines, respectively.