Allograft inflammatory factor-1 (AIF-1) is an evolutionarily conserved, inflammatory protein produced by activated macrophages during chronic transplant rejection and in inflammatory brain lesions. Since T-cell-mediated inflammation is common to various dermatoses and nothing is known about AIF-1 in skin, we studied its protein expression at the tissue level and regulation in monocytic cell lines by various agents. Using immunohistochemistry, we found that AIF-1 is expressed at low levels in normal skin, but is highly upregulated in various inflammatory skin disorders, such as psoriasis, lichen planus, graft-versus-host disease and mycosis fungoides. The main cell types expressing AIF-1 in affected skin are macrophages and Langerhans' cells. We also show by real-time PCR that AIF-1 mRNA levels in monocytic THP-1 and U937 cell lines are significantly upregulated by retinoic acid as well as a number of cytokines. We conclude that AIF-1 may mediate survival and pro-inflammatory properties of macrophages in skin diseases.