Characterization of the cutaneous inflammatory infiltrate in canine atopic dermatitis

Thierry Olivry, Diane K. Naydan, Peter F Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Sections from lesional atopic, clinically normal atopic, and normal canine skin were investigated by light microscopy and an immunoperoxidase method using monoclonal antibodies specific for canine leukocyte antigens. We confirmed that skin-infiltrating cells of canine atopic dermatitis are constituted of mast cells, dendritic antigen-presenting cells, memory helper T-lymphocytes, low numbers of eosinophils and neutrophils, and rare B- lymphocytes. The presence of epidermal eosinophil microaggregates and clustered Langerhans' cells supports the hypothesis of epidermal allergen contact. The hyperplasia of epidermal T-cells expressing the gamma/delta T- cell receptor appears specific to canine atopic dermatitis compared with its human counterpart. This finding could he explained by an interspecies difference in skin immune systems or, alternatively, by an active participation of these epitheliotropic gamma/delta T-cells in the cutaneous allergic immune response in dogs. The paucity of dermal neutrophils in spontaneous lesions of canine atopic dermatitis is notably different from the neutrophil-rich late-phase reactions provoked by intradermal allergen injections in allergic dogs. This difference in the cellular infiltrate probably results from variations in the immune reaction between single and repeated allergen exposure as well as epidermal versus dermal antigen contact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-486
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Dermatopathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1997


  • Dermal dendrocyte
  • Dog
  • Eosinophil
  • Gamma/delta T-lymphocyte
  • Langerhans' cell
  • Late-phase reaction
  • Mast cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Dermatology


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