Prostaglandin D2 plays an essential role in chronic allergic inflammation of the skin via CRTH2 receptor.
PGD(2) plays roles in allergic inflammation via specific receptors, the PGD receptor designated DP and CRTH2 (chemoattractant receptor homologous molecule expressed on Th2 cells). We generated mutant mice carrying a targeted disruption of the CRTH2 gene to investigate the functional roles of CRTH2 in cutaneous inflammatory responses. CRTH2-deficent mice were fertile and grew normally. Ear-swelling responses induced by hapten-specific IgE were less pronounced in mutant mice, giving 35-55% of the responses of normal mice. Similar results were seen in mice treated with a hemopoietic PGD synthase inhibitor, HQL-79, or a CRTH2 antagonist, ramatroban. The reduction in cutaneous responses was associated with decreased infiltration of lymphocytes, eosinophils, and basophils and decreased production of macrophage-derived chemokine and RANTES at inflammatory sites. In models of chronic contact hypersensitivity induced by repeated hapten application, CRTH2 deficiency resulted in a reduction by approximately half of skin responses and low levels (63% of control) of serum IgE production, although in vivo migration of Langerhans cells and dendritic cells to regional lymph nodes was not impaired in CRTH2-deficient mice. In contrast, delayed-type hypersensitivity to SRBC and irritation dermatitis in mutant mice were the same as in wild-type mice. These findings indicate that the PGD(2)-CRTH2 system plays a significant role in chronic allergic skin inflammation. CRTH2 may represent a novel therapeutic target for treatment of human allergic disorders, including atopic dermatitis.