Ni is the most frequent cause of contact allergy induced by metals. However, the underlying mechanism of this induction is unknown.
Our previous research demonstrates that activation of dendritic cells (DCs) through p38MAPK/MKK6 is required for Ni-induced
allergy in mice. In the current study, we investigated the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying Ni-induced allergy using
a mouse model that involves injecting Ni into the ear, with or without Freund’s incomplete or complete adjuvants. Nickel had greater
potential to cause allergic reactions compared with palladium and gold. Among the proteins expressed at higher levels in mice with
Ni-induced allergy, we focused on thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), which is produced in abundance by keratinocytes. We
detected increased expression of the TSLP receptor (TSLPR) in DCs from cervical lymph nodes of mice with Ni-induced allergy,
suggesting that DCs in ear tissues were activated through TSLPR signaling induced by keratinocyte-derived TSLP. Furthermore,
delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions in mice with Ni-induced allergy were decreased significantly by injection of a Tslp–short
interfering RNA along with atelocollagen in the ear skin. These results suggest that Ni allergy may be triggered by a TSLP/TSLPRmediated
interaction between epithelial and immune cells.