School of Medicine and Life Sciences, University of Jinan-Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences, Jinan 250000, China
Shandong Provincial Hospital for Skin Diseases & Shandong Provincial Institute of Dermatology and Veneorology, Shandong First Medical University & Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences, Jinan, Shandong, China
Background: Pruritus is one of the leading symptoms of dermatitis herpetiformis (DH), however, studies on the pathogenesis of pruritus are scarce. Currently, skin mast cells (MCs) have been indicated to play a role in pruritus in autoimmune bullous disease. Objective: To study the role of mast cells and related mediators involved in the pathogenesis of pruritus in DH. Materials and Methods: The number of MCs and expression of histamine and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) was investigated in lesions of 29 DH cases and 15 healthy skin donors by immunohistochemistry. Fourteen patients were assessed for severity of pruritus based on the Numeric Rating Scale and Pruritus Grading System. The levels of histamine and TSLP in the serum of 18 DH patients and 15 healthy controls were also investigated. Results: A significant increase in the number of MCs and degranulation was observed in DH lesions, which positively correlated with intensity of pruritus. In addition, skin TSLP but not histamine was shown to correlate with intensity of pruritus. No significant difference in expression of serum TSLP or histamine was observed between DH patients and healthy controls. Conclusion: These results suggest that skin MCs and TSLP might be involved in the pathogenesis of pruritus in DH which should be further clarified in future studies.