Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common pruritic disease that occurs primarily in infancy and childhood. AD is characterized by itching and the patient having an individual or family history of atopic diseases. Although AD is also frequently associated with elevated serum IgE levels and with common environmental factors contributing to its pathogenesis, the etiology of AD is still unknown. We examined NC/Nga mice (NC mice) that showed AD-like skin lesions with aging as a possible mouse model for AD. NC mice were maintained under conventional (Conv) or specific pathogen-free (SPF) conditions. Clinical symptoms, serum IgE levels and histopathology of the skin were compared between these 2 groups, and we explored their application as a model of human AD. It was found that the skin lesions of inbred NC mice were clinically and histologically very similar to human AD when the mice were raised under Conv conditions, but not under SPF conditions, and we assumed that some kinds of environmental factors might trigger AD-like signs and symptoms in NC mice. To further investigate the pathophysiology and treatment of AD, a suitable animal model is absolutely required, and NC mice are very useful for this purpose.
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