Contribution of itch-associated scratch behavior to the development of skin lesions inDermatophagoides farinae-induced dermatitis model in NC/Nga mice

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Recently, we have reported that the pathophysiological features of dermatitis induced by the repeated application with Dermatophagoides farinae (Df) extract ointment in NC/Nga mice were similar to those observed in the patients with atopic dermatitis. In the present study, we first examined whether the application of Df in other mouse strains could induce dermatitis. The repeated application of Df body (Dfb) ointment to the barrier-disrupted back of ICR, C57BL/6, and Balb/c mice did not cause any apparent skin lesions, although transient increase in serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels during antigen application was observed. On the other hand, in NC/Nga mice, dermatitis scores and serum IgE levels increased remarkably, and then these changes sustained for at least 10 days after stopping of antigen elicitation. Using NC/Nga mice, we investigated the contribution of scratching behavior to the development and maintenance of Dfb-induced dermatitis. In correlation with the increase in scratching behavior, erythema, hemorrhage, edema, scarring, erosion and excoriation were observed. Cutting off the hind toenails of mice exhibiting chronic skin lesions dramatically alleviated the dermatitis. From these findings, the onset of skin lesions and its chronically sustained course in Dfb-induced dermatitis in NC/Nga mice were closely associated with increased scratching behavior.

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