Modulation of the atopy patch test: tacrolimus 0.1% compared with triamcinolone acetonide 0.1%

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The atopy patch test (APT) is an in vivo model to study the induction of eczema by inhalant allergens in atopic dermatitis patients. We studied the effect of pretreatment with topical tacrolimus 0.1% on APT in nonlesional skin of patients with atopic dermatitis.


Nonlesional skin of the back of patients with atopic dermatitis (n = 8) was treated once daily for 3 weeks with tacrolimus 0.1% ointment. Cetomacrogol ointment (placebo) was used as a negative control and triamcinolone acetonide 0.1% ointment as positive control. Twenty-four hours after the last APT application, samples were taken from the three treated areas (t = 0 and 24 h) for immunohistochemical analysis.


Pretreatment with tacrolimus ointment did not suppress nonlesional skin infiltrate, in contrast to triamcinolone acetonide. Furthermore, tacrolimus did not inhibit the induction of the APT macroscopically (t = 24 h). An equal influx of T cells, eosinophils, dendritic cells, CD64+ and FcεRI-positive cells was present compared with placebo. Only CD36+ and CD68-positive cells were inhibited compared with placebo. All cell types were significantly inhibited in triamcinolone acetonide-treated sites compared with placebo.


Pretreatment with tacrolimus 0.1% ointment does not inhibit the APT reaction in patients with atopic dermatitis.

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