The role of chemokines in allergic contact dermatitis

Arch Dermatol Res. 2002 Jan;293(11):552-9. doi: 10.1007/s00403-001-0276-9.


Chemokines are important mediators of immune-mediated skin diseases. Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) is the most thoroughly investigated T cell-mediated disorder because of the ability to easily reproduce the lesions in humans and the availability of an excellent mouse model. Migration of dendritic cells from the skin to lymph nodes is absolutely required for induction of hapten sensitization, and depends upon expression of CCR7 by mature dendritic cells and SLC in the lymph nodes. During expression of ACD, recruitment of T lymphocytes is driven by chemokines exposed on the surface of endothelial cells or released by activated resident skin cells such as mast cells, fibroblasts and keratinocytes. Chemokines are produced in a coordinated and sequential manner, with IL-8 and RANTES induced by TNF-alpha during early stages, and MCP-1, IP-10, Mig, I-TAC, I-309 and MDC induced by IFN-gamma during later stages. Infiltrating monocytes, dendritic cells and T cells are additional sources of chemokines for further leukocyte accumulation. Distinct T cell subsets express different chemokine receptors, with type 2 cells mostly attracted by eotaxin, MDC, TARC and I-309, and type 1 cells sensitive to IP-10, Mig, I-TAC, RANTES and MIP-1beta. MCP-1 is effective on both subsets. T regulatory cells, which inhibit dendritic cell function and are probably involved in the termination of ACD, are sensitive to MCP-1, MIPs and TARC, but express high levels of CCR8 and are more specifically attracted by I-309. Targeting chemokines and chemokine receptors may offer new opportunities for therapeutic interventions in ACD and other chronic inflammatory skin diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemokines / metabolism*
  • Dermatitis, Contact / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • Receptors, Chemokine / metabolism
  • Skin / metabolism


  • Chemokines
  • Receptors, Chemokine