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Determination of Cytokine Production Patterns in the Skin of Patients With Systemic Mastocytosis and Atopic Dermatitis Using the Suction Blister Technique

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Atopic Dermatitis, Healthy, Mastocytosis

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Trial Information

Determination of Cytokine Production Patterns in the Skin of Patients With Systemic Mastocytosis and Atopic Dermatitis Using the Suction Blister Technique

Systemic mastocytosis is a disease characterized by an abnormal accumulation of mast cells
in skin, bone marrow and viscera. Precise mechanisms of events leading to the migration and
proliferation of mast cells in skin is not known. We propose to investigate the in vivo
cytokine and chemokine production patterns of human skin in patients with mastocytosis and
compare these findings to those of patients with atopic dermatitis and to healthy
volunteers, using the suction blister technique. The cytokines/chemokines of interest in
this study are stem cell factor (SCF), interleukin (IL)-3, IL-4, IL-6, IL-9, IL-10,
TNF-alpha, TGF-beta, MCP-1 and RANTES, all of which have been shown to take part in the
proliferation, differentiation or chemotaxis of mast cells. Our hypothesis is that human
skin is producing mediators which allow the mast cells to migrate and proliferate in skin,
resulting in the clinical picture of urticaria pigmentosa. Suction blisters will be
generated in patients, and the cytokine/chemokine contents of the blister fluids will be
analyzed by immunoassay. If the chemokine content of the blister fluid is found to be high,
chemotaxis of mast cell precursors to the skin may also be examined in vivo by placing a
template filled with sterile saline over the blister sites. Punch biopsies will be
performed to correlate cytokine levels with mast cell numbers. This study will aid in
understanding the pathogenesis of cutaneous mast cell disease and may provide insights into
the regulation of mast cell growth and differentiation in tissue-specific microenvironments.
It is hoped that these studies will contribute to the design of novel treatment strategies
against mast cell associated skin diseases.

Inclusion Criteria

General: Age equal to or greater than 18.

Access to a primary medical care provider outside of the NIH.

Able to give informed consent.

No history of malignancy or autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis,
pyoderma gangrenosum, psoriasis.

No use of systemic corticosteroids within the past month.

No use of local corticosteroids at the proposed blistering site within the past month.

No evidence of current acute infection.

INR less than or equal to 1.5, PTT less than or equal to 40, platelet count greater than
or equal to 100,000/mm(3).

No personal or family history of keloid formation.

Blood glucose less than or equal to 160.

No use of any investigative drugs within the past month.

No allergy to lidocaine.

Healthy volunteers must not have a history of atopic dermatitis, mastocytosis or chronic

Mastocytosis: Histologic evidence of mast cell hyperplasia in at least one organ system.

Atopic Dermatitis: Must have at least 3 major and 3 minor criteria.

No history of mastocytosis.

Type of Study:


Study Design:



United States: Federal Government

Study ID:




Start Date:

January 1998

Completion Date:

December 2001

Related Keywords:

  • Atopic Dermatitis
  • Healthy
  • Mastocytosis
  • Stem Cell Factor
  • Cytokine
  • Chemokines
  • Chemotaxis
  • Mast Cells
  • Normal Volunteer
  • Systemic Mastocytosis
  • Atopic Dermatitis
  • Dermatitis
  • Dermatitis, Atopic
  • Mastocytosis
  • Urticaria Pigmentosa
  • Mastocytoma
  • Mastocytosis, Systemic



National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Bethesda, Maryland  20892