Malassezia yeast play a role in the pathogenesis of chronic dermatitis, especially in apocrine areas, by polarizing the local immunologic background to a Th2/Th17 state through aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR)-dependent pathways. Extra-mammary Paget's disease (EMPD) is an adenocarcinoma of apocrine origin, and except for cases associated with Malassezia yeast and their metabolites, the lesions typically develop in areas not exposed to environmental material. The purpose of this study was to investigate (a) the immunomodulatory effects of Malassezia metabolites on normal human keratinocytes (NHKCs), focusing on interleukin (IL)-17 and related cytokines/chemokines (IL-23, IL-36γ, CCL20), (b) the expression of these factors in lesion-affected skin in EMPD and (c) the activation of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) by these factors. Malassezia metabolites augmented the expression of cytochrome P450, family 1, subfamily A, polypeptide 1 (CYP1A1), CCL20 and IL-36γ mRNA in NHKCs in vitro. In lesion-affected skin of patients with EMPD, epidermal keratinocytes expressed CYP1A1 and CCL20. In addition, Paget cells expressed CCL20 and IL-23. IL-17–producing cells were distributed adjacent to Paget cells. Compared to healthy donors, patients with EMPD exhibited significantly increased serum levels of soluble (s)CD163, CXCL5, CXCL10 and CCL20. In addition, serum levels of sCD163 decreased significantly following tumor resection. Our study demonstrates a possible mechanism for the development of EMPD involving AhR-mediated signalling by epidermal keratinocytes and RANKL-induced recruitment of Th17 cells and TAMs.
- aryl hydrocarbon receptor
- extra-mammary Paget's disease
- proinflammatory cytokines
- tumor-associated M2 macrophages