Forma, Vol. 24 (No. 2), pp. 49-59, 2009
Original Paper

Spatial Statistics for Epidermal Langerhans Cells
—Effects of Protopic® Ointment 0.1% on the Spatial Distribution—

Toshihiko Numahara1*, Masaharu Tanemura2,3, Kiyo Numahara1, Junko Moriue4, Yoshie Shirahige4, Ikumi Yokoi4 and Yasuo Kubota3

1Numahara Hifuka (Medical Corporation), 2621 Hijidai, Toyonaka-cho, Mitoyo-shi, Kagawa 769-1501, Japan
2The Institute of Statistical Mathematics (ISM), 10-3 Midori-cho, Tachikawa, Tokyo 190-8562, Japan
3Department of Statistical Science, The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, 10-3 Midori-cho, Tachikawa, Tokyo 190-8562, Japan
4Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, Kagawa University, 1750-1 Ikenobe, Miki-cho, Kita-gun, Kagawa 761-0793, Japan
*E-mail address:

(Received February 13, 2008; Accepted March 4, 2009)

Abstract. Epidermal Langerhans cells (LCs) are dendritic cells abundant in the epidermis. LCs fulfill an essential role in skin immunology. We have applied spatial statistics to the study of LCs for the last 20 years. The immunosuppressive macrolide tacrolimus was discovered in 1984. Tacrolimus ointment has been available for atopic dermatitis patients in Japan since 1999 and in the U.S.A. since 2001. Three-week Protopic® Ointment 0.1% (0.1% tacrolimus ointment) application to mice reduced both the density and spatial regularity of LCs. The estimated potential model functions were similar in control and tacrolimus groups, but the diameter, σ, of the tacrolimus group was slightly larger than the control. Although studies using LC suspension such as flow cytometry analysis have become the mainstream, there is information that can only be obtained based on the spatial pattern of LCs. Spatial statistics will provide a new viewpoint in dendritic cell studies.

Keywords: Spatial Statistics, Epidermal Langerhans Cells, Dendritic Cells, Tacrolimus, Protopic® Ointment

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