Potentiation of skin TSLP production by a cosmetic colorant leads to aggravation of dermatitis symptoms

Gabsik Yang, Hye Eun Lee, Kyung Min Lim, Yong Kyu Choi, Kyu Bong Kim, Byung Mu Lee, Joo Young Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Certain cosmetic colorants are irritant to skin or aggravate dermatitis. Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) plays an important role in the initiation and progress of skin inflammation and atopic dermatitis by triggering Th2 immune responses. However, the effects of cosmetic colorants on TSLP production are unknown yet. Therefore, we investigated whether cosmetic colorants regulated TSLP production and dermatitis. Lithol Rubine B (LR-B, Pigment Red 57) and its calcium salt (LR-BCA), commonly used cosmetic colorants, potentiated phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate-induced TSLP production in keratinocytes. In addition, the topical exposure to LR-B or LR-BCA on mouse ear upregulated a TSLP inducer (MC903)-induced TSLP production and Th2 cytokine expression. Dermatitis symptoms and serum IgE and histamine levels were also aggravated by LR-B or LR-BCA, implicating the role of increased TSLP expression in acute dermatitis. LR-B or LR-BCA induced IκBα degradation and NF-κB activation in keratinocytes, leading to TSLP expression. Collectively, our results demonstrate that LR-B and LR-BCA increase TSLP expression and Th2 immune responses, thereby aggravating acute dermatitis in the compromised skin. The results further suggest that certain cosmetic colorants such as LR-B may aggravate dermatitis under pro-inflammatory conditions by upregulating TSLP production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-47
Number of pages7
JournalChemico-Biological Interactions
StatePublished - 25 Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018


  • Cosmetic dye
  • Cytokine
  • Dermatitis
  • Inflammation
  • Keratinocytes


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