Cytokine Indexes in Pemphigus Vulgaris: Perception of Its Immunpathogenesis and Hopes for Non-Steroidal Treatment

Document Type: Research article


1 Department of Immunology, Isfahan University of Medical Science, Isfahan, Iran.

2 Pharmacy Students’ Research Committee, School of Pharmacy, Isfahan University of Medical sciences, Isfahan, Iran.

3 Skin Diseases and Leishmaniasis Research Center, Department of Dermatology, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.

4 Cancer Research Center, Semnan University of Medical Sciences, Semnan, Iran.

5 Department of Physiology, Applied Physiology Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.

6 Department of Dermatology, Isfahan University of Medical Science, Isfahan, Iran.


Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is a chronic autoimmune blistering disease of the skin, in which
loss of adhesion between keratinocytes is caused by autoantibodies. It has been hypothesized
that cytokines play an essential role in the pathogenesis of PV. This study aimed to investigate
the other immunopathological aspects of PV by determining the serum levels of cytokines in
PV patients to find another treatment strategy except corticosteroid therapy.
Twenty-three patients with PV and a control group consisting of 24 healthy subjects were
studied. Interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL10, IL-12, IL-17 and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) were
measured in the sera of patients by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) method.
The serum levels of IL-2, IL-4, IL-17 and IFN-γ in most patients and controls were
undetectable. The serum concentrations of IL-10 in the patients and controls were undetectable,
nevertheless, the mean serum levels of this cytokine was 64.375 pg/mL in four patients. The
mean serum levels of pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6 increased significantly in the patients,
compared to the controls (169.50 vs. 75.62 pg/mL) (P < 0.05). The same was observed for
another pro-inflammatory cytokine, IL-12 (135.33 vs. 86.28 pg/mL) (P < 0.05).
Based on the results of this study it can be concluded that the Type 2 T helper cytokine
(IL-6) and macrophage-derived cytokine (IL-12) have essential roles in PV pathophysiology.
In addition, the potential clinical application of Th1/Th2 type cytokine-based therapy in PV
should be considered in next studies.


Main Subjects