Fault in immune memory may cause atopic eczema and psoriasis

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows how scientists from the Centre for Allergy and Environment in Munich (ZAUM), the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technische Universität Münchenmay have discovered the causes of atopic eczema and psoriasis. They based the study on a rare group of people who suffer from both atopic eczema and psoriasis, and found that they are both caused by an impaired immunological memory.

The study shows how the T-cells of the immune system in the skin activate an inflammatory response that causes either atopic eczema or psoriasis, and co-author Professor Ring, director of the Department of Dermatology and Allergology Biederstein, says that this finding highlights the critical role of T-cells in psoriasis.

T-cells and B-cells together form the body’s immunological memory, and initiate an immune response if they encounter foreign substances. In atopic eczema and neurodermatitis, the T-cells recognize substances such as pollen, house-dust mites and bacteria that trigger an immune response. In psoriasis it is unclear which molecules are responsible for the immune responses.

Scientists will now concentrate on finding the T-cell molecules responsible for triggering these diseases, and emphasise how future treatment strategies should focus on the impairment of the immunological memory.

Source: New England Journal of Medicine

July 2011


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