Dermatitis is often associated with an allergic reaction characterized by excessive type 2 responses leading to epidermal acanthosis, hyperkeratosis, and dermal inflammation. Although factors like IL-4, IL-13, and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) are thought to be instrumental for the development of this type of skin disorder, other cytokines may be critical. Here, we show that the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily protein LIGHT (homologous to lymphotoxin, exhibits inducible expression, and competes with HSV glycoprotein D for binding to HVEM, a receptor expressed on T lymphocytes) is required for experimental atopic dermatitis, and LIGHT directly controls keratinocyte hyperplasia, and production of periostin, a matricellular protein that contributes to the clinical features of atopic dermatitis as well as other skin diseases such as scleroderma. Mice with a conditional deletion of the LIGHT receptor HVEM (herpesvirus entry mediator) in keratinocytes phenocopied LIGHT-deficient mice in exhibiting reduced epidermal thickening and dermal collagen deposition in a model of atopic dermatitis driven by house dust mite allergen. LIGHT signaling through HVEM in human epidermal keratinocytes directly induced proliferation and periostin expression, and both keratinocyte-specific deletion of HVEM or antibody blocking of LIGHT-HVEM interactions after disease onset prevented expression of periostin and limited atopic dermatitis symptoms. Developing reagents that neutralize LIGHT-HVEM signaling might be useful for therapeutic intervention in skin diseases where periostin is a central feature.
© 2018 Herro et al.