Up-regulated expression of MICA and proinflammatory cytokines in skin biopsies from patients with seborrhoeic dermatitis

Clin Immunol. 2003 Jan;106(1):50-4. doi: 10.1016/s1521-6616(03)00003-2.


Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a disease of unknown etiopathogenesis that affects 5% of the population. In this study, we investigated expression of mRNA for IL-1 alpha, IL-6, IL-4, IFN-gamma, and the stress-inducible MICA molecule in skin biopsies from 12 patients with moderate to severe seborrhoeic dermatitis and 2 healthy volunteers by RT-PCR and hybridization with specific probes. Eight patients expressed INF-gamma, 2 expressed IL-6, 8 expressed IL-1 alpha, and 2 expressed IL-4 (1 with moderate disease). Eight patients expressed inflammatory cytokines (IL-1 alpha, IL-6, and/or IFN-gamma) in healthy skin. Higher cytokine mRNA in damaged vs healthy skin was also observed, suggesting the existence of an inflammation that predisposes healthy skin to develop overt disease. Up-regulated expression of MICA mRNA was observed in 8 patients. Although the pathogenesis of seborrhoeic dermatitis remains to be elucidated, expression of cytotoxicity-activating ligands (MICA), recruitment of NK cells, and a local pro-inflammatory microenvironment may facilitate the development of tissue injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Cytokines / immunology*
  • Dermatitis, Seborrheic / immunology*
  • Dermatitis, Seborrheic / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / biosynthesis
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin / immunology*
  • Skin / pathology
  • Up-Regulation / immunology


  • Cytokines
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • MHC class I-related chain A