Atopic dermatitis (AD) is one of the most common skin diseases, and its incidence is increasing in industrialized countries. Furthermore, the epicutaneous application of a hapten, such as 2,4-dinitrofluorobenzene (DNFB), evokes an AD-like lesion in NC/Nga mice under specific pathogen-free (SPF) conditions. Rosmarinic acid (RA) is a secondary metabolite that is frequently found in herbs, and has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-microbial effects. In this study, we studied whether RA is an effective treatment against DNFB-induced AD-like skin lesions in NC/Nga mice. RA at 1 or 5 μM was found to suppress the productions of interferon (IFN)-γ and interleukin (IL)-4 significantly by activated CD4(+) T cells. Furthermore, an intraperitoneal injection of RA at 10 or 50 mg/kg significantly inhibited skin lesion development and ear thickness and total serum IgE level increases in DNFB-treated NC/Nga mice. In addition, intraperitoneal administered RA at 10 or 50 mg/kg significantly inhibited the infiltrations of CD4(+) T, CD8(+) T, and mast cells into DNFB-induced skin lesions in NC/Nga mice. This study suggests that RA suppresses the development of AD-like dermatitis in DNFB-treated NC/Nga mice by reducing IFN-γ and IL-4 production by activated T cells and total serum IgE levels.
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