Abstract: Pimecrolimus is the most recent member of calcineurin inhibitors available for the therapy for inflammatory skin diseases. It targets T‐cells and mast cells and inhibits the production and release of cytokines and other inflammatory mediators, as well as the expression of signals essential for the activation of inflammatory T‐lymphocytes. Pimecrolimus has a cell‐selective mode of action. In contrast to corticosteroids, it does not affect, e.g., Langerhans'cells/dendritic cells (LC/DC), as demonstrated in vitro with human monocyte‐derived DC and in vivo with epidermal LC in mice, nor human primary fibroblasts. As shown in vitro with human skin and by comparison of clinical pharmacokinetic data from patients with atopic dermatitis, pimecrolimus permeates less through skin than tacrolimus and much less than corticosteroids. It, thus, has a lower potential for transcutaneous resorption after topical administration, resulting in a lower risk of systemic effects. Pimecrolimus has high anti‐inflammatory activity in animal models of skin inflammation, including a model reflecting neurogenic inflammation, but a more favourable balance of anti‐inflammatory vs. immunosuppressive activity than tacrolimus. Pimecrolimus does not affect sensitization in a murine model of allergic contact dermatitis and has a lower potency in various models of immunosuppression after systemic administration, compared to tacrolimus. In conclusion, the results of preclinical studies show that pimecrolimus has a selective pharmacological profile, suited for effective and safe treatment for inflammatory skin diseases.
Experimental Dermatology – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 2004
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