Hairless mice fed a special diet, HR-AD, develop atopic dermatitis (AD)-like skin inflammation with skin barrier defects and itch-related scratching; however, the ingredient(s) causing the dermatitis remains unclear. In this study, we examined whether deficiency of certain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) is involved in HR-AD-induced AD. High-purity PUFAs were given to HR-AD-fed mice by dietary supplementation or gavage. Fatty acid levels in the serum and skin were determined by using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. In serum from HR-AD-fed mice, linoleic acid (LA, 18:2n-6) and α-linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3n-3), as well as their metabolites, were markedly decreased. When mice were fed HR-AD supplemented with LA or ALA in an amount equal to that contained in a normal diet, the development of AD-like symptoms was completely prevented by supplementation with LA but not with ALA. Relatively high dose of ALA slightly alleviated skin barrier defects, but did neither itch-related scratching nor skin inflammation. On the other hand, gavage administration of LA metabolites, such as γ-linolenic acid and arachidonic acid (AA), significantly ameliorated established dermatitis without increasing LA in the serum and skin. Moreover, AA-induced amelioration of dermatitis was not affected by pharmacological blockade of 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) and cyclooxygenase (COX), suggesting no involvement of 5-LOX- or COX-mediated AA metabolites in the amelioration. In conclusion, our results indicate that deficiency of n-6 PUFAs is mainly responsible for AD-like symptoms by HR-AD feeding. Thus, this model could be useful for studying the pathomechanisms associated with deficiency of n-6 PUFAs in AD.
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S.