Research Article

Soluble interleukin 2 receptor in atopic eczema.

BMJ 1989; 298 doi: (Published 27 May 1989) Cite this as: BMJ 1989;298:1426
  1. G. B. Colver,
  2. J. A. Symons,
  3. G. W. Duff
  1. Department of Dermatology, University of Edinburgh.


    OBJECTIVE--To determine whether serum soluble interleukin 2 receptor concentrations are related to disease activity in atopic eczema. DESIGN--Single cohort longitudinal study with controls. SETTING--Outpatient and general medicine departments in secondary referral centre. PATIENTS--Of 15 patients aged 17-57 with severe atopic eczema, all with acute exacerbations of disease, 13 were admitted to hospital and two treated as outpatients until the skin lesions had resolved or greatly improved. Nineteen controls gave single blood samples. INTERVENTIONS--Daily skin dressing with betamethasone valerate (0.025%) and ichthammol paste and tubular dressings. END POINT--Resolution of or considerable improvement in skin lesions. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--Enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) were used to measure serum soluble interleukin 2 receptor concentrations in blood samples taken on admission, at intervals subsequently, and on discharge. Clinical scores of disease activity were also made. Median concentrations on admission were significantly higher (770 U/ml) in the patients than the controls (300 U/ml). Concentrations fell significantly during treatment. In 25 assessments made at different times in 13 patients serum soluble interleukin 2 receptor concentration correlated significantly (R = 0.73) with clinical disease activity. CONCLUSIONS--Cellular immunopathogenic mechanisms contribute to atopic eczema. Immune activation can be measured in atopic eczema by measurements of soluble interleukin 2 receptor, and this should facilitate assessment of response to treatment.