The CD40/CD40 ligand system is expressed in the cutaneous lesions of erythema multiforme and Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis spectrum.Br J Dermatol. 2006 Feb; 154(2):319-24.BJ
Erythema multiforme (EM) and Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS)/toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) are determined by a dysregulation of cellular immunity.
To evaluate the effector role of cellular immunity and the involvement of the CD40/CD40 ligand (CD40L) system in the pathogenesis of EM and SJS/TEN.
Biopsy specimens from eight patients with EM and six with SJS/TEN were stained for immunohistochemical examination using the alkaline phosphatase/antialkaline phosphatase method. The monoclonal antibodies used included those to CD1a, CD4, CD8, CD40, CD40L, CD68, Fas, Fas ligand (FasL) and myeloperoxidase.
The cellular infiltrate in both EM and SJS/TEN lesions was composed mainly of T lymphocytes and CD68+ macrophages. We also detected large amounts of neutrophils. Fas and FasL were very highly expressed in SJS and TEN, but weakly in EM. CD40 staining was strong in all tissue sections; there were numerous CD40L+ cells in SJS/TEN but much fewer in EM.
Activated T lymphocytes and macrophages, but also neutrophils, are presumably the main triggers of mucocutaneous damage in the SJS/TEN disease spectrum. The Fas/FasL system is significantly expressed in SJS/TEN lesions, but not in EM, where this apoptotic pathway presumably does not play a pivotal role in the epidermal damage. We suggest that the CD40/CD40L system may represent an important pathway of induction of SJS/TEN lesions, while in EM it would contribute to the immunoinflammation only as a second-line mechanism.