Serotonergic mechanisms in human allergic contact dermatitis

Husameldin El-Nour, Lena Lundeberg, Nada Abdel-Magid, Sol Britt Lonne-Rahm, Efrain C. Azmitia, Klas Nordlind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Expression of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT), 5-HT receptors 1A (5-HT1AR) and 2A, and serotonin transporter protein (SERT) was studied in positive epicutaneous reactions to nickel sulphate in nickel-allergic patients, at 72 h post-challenge with the antigen. In addition, the effects of 5-HT2AR agonist 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine (DOI), and the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) Citalopram and fluoxetine, were tested on nickel-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells from nickel-allergic patients, regarding their proliferation and interleukin (IL)-2 production, as well as the effect of these SSRIs on a murine Langerhans' cell-like line (XS52), regarding its IL-1β production. Serotonin-positive platelets were increased in the inflamed skin compared with control skin. A decrease (p <0.01) in 5-HT1AR-positive mononuclear cells was evident in the eczematous skin compared with control skin, whereas 5-HT2AR- and SERT-positive cells were increased (p <0.001 for both) in the eczematous skin. Treatment of nickel-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells with 5×10 -5 mol/l of DOI inhibited (p <0.01) the proliferation of nickel-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells, while no effect was found regarding IL-2 production. Citalopram at 10-6 mol/l tended to inhibit the production of IL-1β by the XS52 cell line. These results indicate the implication of the serotonergic system in the contact allergic reaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-396
Number of pages7
JournalActa Dermato-Venereologica
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2007


  • Allergic contact dermatitis
  • Serotonin
  • Serotonin receptors
  • Serotonin transporter protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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