The Journal of dermatological treatment

Diphencyprone and topical tacrolimus as two topical immunotherapeutic modalities. Are they effective in the treatment of alopecia areata among Egyptian patients? A study using CD4, CD8 and MHC II as markers.

PMID 20524872


To evaluate the efficacy of two topically applied immunomodulative agents through the detection of lymphocyte subsets using monoclonal antibodies against CD4, CD8 and MHC II. Fifty patients from the Departments of Medical Biochemistry, Dermatology and Pathology at Cairo University with different degrees of alopecia areata (AA) were included in this study. They were classified into two groups each of 25 patients. Each patient was treated with the immunomodulative agent on one side of the scalp and the other side was left as a control. Biopsies were taken from all patients at the beginning of treatment and at the end of the study. Tissue specimens were prepared for histologic and immunophenotypic analysis. The main outcome measures were the uses of diphencyprone (DPCP) and topical tacrolimus as two topical immunotherapeutic modalities in the treatment of AA. A clinical response of 68% was achieved in group A (treated with DPCP) while group B (treated with 0.1% tacrolimus) showed an insignificant clinical response. Decreased expression of CD4 and increased expression of CD8 and MHC II was detected in the post-treated areas compared with pretreated areas in cases treated with DCPC. In tacrolimus-treated cases, there was a decrease in CD4 and MHC II, with no change in CD8 between the pre- and post-treated areas. DCPC is one of the most accepted therapeutic modalities in the treatment of AA, with a favourable prognosis among patchy hair loss. MHC II expression was the one correlating with clinical response. Tacrolimus, though beneficial in other dermatoses, could not be considered effective in the treatment of AA.