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IL-13 was found to be overexpressed in
AD skin.1-3

IL-13 overexpression in AD skin as shown by
mRNA expression3

Table created by highlighting a study of skin samples taken from 55 patients with atopic dermatitis and 38 healthy controls; the data demonstrated IL-13 in all skin samples while IL-4 was found in 40% of skin samples

Data derived from online supplement in the reference
*P<0.001 vs control; †P<0.0001 vs control
Adapted from Tsoi LC, et al.3

IL-13 was at detectable levels in all AD lesional samples

In this study, RNA sequencing showed that IL-13 was the most distinctive marker for AD, mRNA expression of IL-4 was detected in only 40% of AD lesional samples and at very low expression levels.3

IL-13 overexpression in AD skin as shown in lesional skin-tape strips2

*Number of samples in which the inflammatory mediator’s concentration could quantitatively be determined. Adapted from Koppes et al.2


IL-4 was detected in 41/90 (46%) of patients

In this study, skin samples were taken from 90 patients with AD and 20 healthy controls to assess protein levels in lesional skin using skin-tape-stripping methodology: the study demonstrated high levels of IL-13 in all skin samples and low or undetectable IL-4 levels2

These results suggest that atopic dermatitis is driven by IL-13 rather than by IL-4 2,3

A growing body of evidence supports the relative overexpression of IL-13 in AD skin; further research shows how these elevated levels relate to disease severity.1,3,4


  1. Tazawa T, Sugiura H, Sugiura Y, Uehara M. Relative importance of IL-4 and IL-13 in lesional skin of atopic dermatitis. Arch Dermatol Res. 2004;295(11):459-464.
  2. Koppes SA, Brans R, Ljubojevic Hadzavdic S, Frings-Dresen MH, Rustemeyer T, Kezic S. Stratum corneum tape stripping: monitoring of inflammatory mediators in atopic dermatitis patients using topical therapy. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2016;170(3):187-193.
  3. Tsoi LC, Rodriguez E, Degenhardt F, et al. Atopic dermatitis is an IL-13-dominant disease with greater molecular heterogeneity compared to psoriasis. J Invest Dermatol. 2019;139(7):1480-1489.
  4. Szegedi K, Lutter R, Res PC, et al. Cytokine profiles in interstitial fluid from chronic atopic dermatitis skin. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2015;29(11):2136-2144.