Stratum Corneum Tape Stripping: Monitoring of Inflammatory Mediators in Atopic Dermatitis Patients Using Topical Therapy

Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2016;170(3):187-93. doi: 10.1159/000448400. Epub 2016 Sep 2.


Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the tape strip sampling technique in the assessment of stratum corneum levels of inflammatory mediators in a clinical trial setting.

Methods: Thirty-eight inflammatory mediators were analyzed by a multiplex-assay in the stratum corneum, collected by adhesive tapes before and after 6 weeks of therapy, in mild and moderate atopic dermatitis (AD) patients (n = 90). Treatment was a ceramide- and magnesium-containing emollient.

Results: Twenty-four mediators could quantitatively be determined. The Th2 mediators interleukin (IL)-4, IL-13, CCL2 (monocyte chemotactic protein-1), CCL22 (macrophage-derived chemokine), and CCL17 [thymus and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC)] were significantly decreased after therapy as well as IL-1β, IL-2, IL-8 (CXCL8), IL-10, acute-phase protein serum amyloid A, C-reactive protein, and vascular adhesion molecule-1. The decrease of CCL17 and IL-8 was correlated with the decrease in disease severity in a subgroup of moderate AD individuals.

Conclusion: Stratum corneum tape stripping offers a minimally invasive approach for studying local levels of immunomodulatory molecules in the skin. CCL17 (TARC) and IL-8 were found to be the most promising biomarkers of AD and might be useful for investigating the course of skin diseases and the effect of local therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / diagnosis*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / metabolism*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / therapy
  • Emollients / administration & dosage
  • Epidermis / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surgical Tape*
  • Young Adult


  • Cytokines
  • Emollients
  • Inflammation Mediators