Scratching the skin triggers skin flares in people with atopic dermatitis (eczema). Researchers have shown that they can block mechanisms in mice that slow the cycle of eczematous skin scratching down, and may even stop the process completely.
In eczema, immune T cells invade the skin and create the environment for scratching. The scratching itself encourages an influx of other immune cells called neutrophils, which secrete a lipid called leukotriene B4, which calls in more neutrophils and more potent immune T cells, these last being the hallmark of eczema.
The researchers studied the implication of blocking the leukotriene B4 lipids on a mouse model, and also of blocking receptors on the immune cells that bind to the leukotriene B4 lipids. They found that neutrophils play a key role in allergic skin inflammation and blocking leukotriene B4 and its receptor blocks the development of allergic skin inflammation and therefore may provide a new therapy for eczema.
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