Expression of eotaxin, an eosinophil-selective chemokine, parallels eosinophil accumulation in the vesiculobullous stage of incontinentia pigmenti

S. Jean-Baptiste, E. A. O'Toole, M. Chen, J. Guitart, A. Paller, L. S. Chan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Incontinentia pigmenti (IP) is an X-linked dominant genodermatosis primarily affecting female children. The initial vesiculobullous stage of IP is characterized clinically by inflammatory papules, blisters, and pustules, and histopathologically by acanthosis, keratinocyte necrosis, epidermal spongiosis and massive epidermal eosinophil infiltration. The cause of this multisystem disease is attributed to the mutations of an X-linked regulatory gene, termed nuclear factor-κB essential modulator (NEMO). The exact mechanism of epidermal eosinophil accumulation has not yet been determined. We explored the possible role of an eosinophil-selective, nuclear factor-κB-activated chemokine, eotaxin, in the accumulation of eosinophils in the initial stage of the disease. Monoclonal antibody (6H9) specific for human eotaxin strongly labelled the suprabasal epidermis of IP skin, paralleling the upper epidermal accumulation of eosinophils, but did not label the epidermis of normal skin or lesional skin from patients with other inflammatory skin diseases not characterized by prominent eosinophil accumulation, namely dermatitis herpetiformis and selected cases of atopic dermatitis lacking significant numbers of eosinophils. In addition, endothelial cells in lesional skin of IP also exhibited strong expression of eotaxin, which correlated with perivascular and intravascular eosinophil infiltration. We also examined the in vitro effects on epidermally derived eotaxin of several cytokines that were nuclear factor-κB-activated and/or known to induce eotaxin expression. In normal human keratinocytes, proinflammatory cytokines either independently (IL-1α) or synergistically (tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α)/interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) and TNF-α/IL-4) up-regulated eotaxin expression. These studies suggest that release of cytokines during the initial inflammatory stage of IP induces epidermal expression of eotaxin, which may play a role in the epidermal accumulation of eosinophils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)470-478
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Blister
  • Eosinophil
  • Eotaxin
  • Incontinentia pigmenti
  • Skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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