Decreased number and function of antigen-presenting cells in the skin following application of irritant agents: relevance for skin cancer?
J Invest Dermatol. 1989 Jun;92(6):842-7. PMID: 2786039
Department of Dermatology, Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.
The mechanism of irritant dermatitis and the immunologic consequences of such reactions are unclear. We evaluated the number and function of epidermal antigen-presenting cells contained in epidermal cell suspensions obtained from normal and irritant patch test reaction sites. Application of sodium lauryl sulfate or croton oil to human skin in vivo resulted in a progressive depletion in the number of epidermal OKT6+HLA-DR+ (T6+DR+) Langerhans cells (LC) from 3.1 +/- 0.2% of total epidermal cells (EC) to 1.2 +/- 0.1% after 8 d (mean values +/- SEM, N = 9). Between 1-4 d irritant patch test sites demonstrated an influx of non-Langerhans cell T6-DR+ cells. These cells were not DR+ keratinocytes but appeared to be of bone marrow derivation because they expressed the marker, HLe1. Among bone marrow derived cells, the T6-DR+EC appeared to be of monocyte, macrophage lineage, because they expressed the determinant recognized by the OKM5 (M5) antibody. Despite the induction of M5+DR+EC the total number of DR+EC showed progressively decreasing percentages over an 8-d period. Partial recovery to 73 +/- 12% of control value was observed at 2 weeks, with full recovery by 4 weeks after challenge. Concomitantly with the depletion of DR+EC, the capacity of EC to present alloantigens to T cells decreased. This reduction in antigen-presenting cell activity was strongly correlated to the reduction in total DR+ EC (r = 0.94, p less than 0.05). Thus, the capacity of irritants such as croton oil to abrogate the function of epidermal antigen-presenting cells may be related to the tumor promoting potential of these agents.