The pathogenesis of Stevens–Johnson syndrome (SJS)/toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) is not fully understood. Our previous study reported that chemokine CCL27 was overexpressed in serum of SJS/TEN patients. The objective of this study was to investigate the levels of CCL27 and TNF-α in serum and blister fluid from patients with SJS/TEN during the acute stage or resolution phase.
A total of 27 patients with SJS/TEN and 39 healthy donors were recruited to the study. Serum and vesicular levels of CCL27 and TNF-α were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays.
Serum levels of CCL27 and TNF-α were significantly elevated in patients with SJS/TEN during the acute stage as compared to the resolution phase and also compared with levels observed in normal controls (P = 0.001/< 0.001; P = 0.012/< 0.001). Serum TNF-α levels were significantly higher in patients with SJS/TEN during the resolution phase compared with normal controls (P < 0.001). Serum CCL27 levels were positively correlated with TNF-α levels during the acute stage (r s = 0.660; P < 0.001). Blister fluid exhibited much lower CCL27 levels than serum did during the acute stage (P = 0.008). TNF-α levels were much higher in vesicles in contrast to serum from acute stage (P = 0.040) as well as serum from resolution phase (P = 0.029).
Our study demonstrated roles of CCL27 and TNF-α in promoting the course of SJS/TEN. CCL27 may act early in the course of disease, via the circulation, whereas TNF-α acts throughout the course of disease, in skin lesions.