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Recently identified immune cells Possible therapeutic target for eczema

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Also Included In: Immune System / Vaccines;??Dermatology
Article Date: 01 Feb 2013 – 1:00 PST Current ratings for:
Recently Identified Immune Cells Possible Therapeutic Target For Eczema
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The increasing incidence of allergic skin diseases, and the accompanying economic burden and heightened risk of developing other allergic conditions, have spurred researchers to look for better ways to control these immune system-based disorders.

Atopic dermatitis, more commonly called eczema, now affects 10 to 20 percent of children in the United States and direct health-care costs exceed $ 3 billion, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. What’s more, up to 50 percent of children with atopic dermatitis will develop other allergic diseases, including asthma, a phenomenon termed the “allergic march,” the gradual acquisition of co-existing allergic diseases.

David Artis, Ph.D., associate professor of Microbiology, and Brian Kim, M.D., clinical instructor of Dermatology, from the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, have identified a previously unknown critical role for a recently identified immune cell population in the progression of atopic dermatitis. They describe their findings in the latest issue of Science Translational Medicine.

The team found an accumulation of innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) in the active lesions of patients with atopic dermatitis. Using a mouse model of atopic dermatitis they also showed that mouse ILCs contribute to disease progression. These studies suggest innate lymphoid cells may be a new therapeutic target in treating the development and severity of atopic dermatitis.

Under the Skin

“Like foot soldiers protecting the skin barrier from onslaught, innate lymphoid cells are present in healthy skin and we would predict that these cells play a role in maintaining normal tissue function and perhaps in protecting against microbes on this barrier,” says Artis. “However, in chronic inflammatory diseases like atopic dermatitis, unchecked innate lymphoid cell responses can promote inflammation.”

Kim adds, “A potential consequence of our more hygienic environment is that immune cells may be left somewhat redundant and so contribute to the increasing incidence of allergic diseases like eczema.”

Many studies before the current one in STM have identified immune pathways that activate ILCs in such other tissues as the intestine and lung. “An unexpected finding of the current study is that innate lymphoid cells in the skin appear to be activated and regulated by different pathways,” says Kim. “These findings suggest that tissue-specific local signals may regulate their function. This finding may also offer therapeutic potential to selectively target innate lymphoid cells in certain tissues, especially for limiting disease severity.”

At present, the first-line therapy for atopic dermatitis remains topical steroids. Unlike other inflammatory diseases like psoriasis and arthritis that can be treated with modern biologic-based therapies, there are no targeted biologic therapies that are approved for use to treat atopic dermatitis.

“Our findings give us hope that new biologic therapies may be designed to treat atopic dermatitis in the future,” says Artis.

These studies are part of a new collaboration between basic scientists in Penn’s Department of Microbiology and Institute for Immunology, along with clinicians at Penn’s Department of Dermatology. These studies are supported by the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science Award program, which is administered through Penn’s Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics.

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our eczema / psoriasis section for the latest news on this subject. Research in the Artis lab is supported by the National Institutes of Health (AI061570, AI087990, AI074878, AI083480, AI095466, AI095608, AI097333, AI102942) and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigator in Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease Award. Kim is funded by NIH grant KL2-RR024132. The study was also funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation Prospective Research Fellowship, the NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center Support Grant (2-P30 CA016520); the NIH/NIDDK P30 Center for Molecular Studies in Digestive and Liver Diseases (P30-DK050306), the National Center for Research Resources and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (KL2TR000139), and the Skin Disease Research Center (SDRC 5-P30-AR-057217). Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:


University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “Recently Identified Immune Cells Possible Therapeutic Target For Eczema.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 1 Feb. 2013. Web.
7 Apr. 2013. APA

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posted by Aston on 4 Apr 2013 at 6:59 am

I had facial eczema and my main treatment used to be only steroids, which made me reliant on it for several years and anytime i stopped it my eczema would come back. Later on i read that coconut helps to treat eczema, and right now i’m having my eczema controlled just with the use of ezerra mositurizer cream followed by coconut oil. I’ve only moderate eczema though, but try it out and hopefully it helps eczema of all forms. Hope this helps.

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posted by Bruce Bennett on 14 Feb 2013 at 7:05 am

My eczema of 44 years was cured by taking vitamin D of 2,000 iu a day. From age 20 to 64 I itched and cracked my skin of the fingers and legs. I am now 73 and without symptoms for nine years! I run a vitamin D level of 90ng. I know others who have “cured” eczema” similarly.

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posted by William on 2 Feb 2013 at 9:24 am

I find this article very interesting. I have had eczema since I was a boy. I was told it would most likely fade away into my adulthood but unfortunately it has only spread, and got worse. I currently have new rashes forming on my back, that also come to my face and behind my ears, and well theres not many places I do not have eczema. I am starting my own research this month on the affects of going on a gluten free diet. I have been to an allergist and have come to an understanding of what my irritants are. During this research I will not be using any steroids. I want to take a more natural approach to a possible solvent. I have been taking various types of antibiotics, and steroids for 20 years and still have my problem so I suppose its not going to help or worsen if I do this for a month. I wish to closely track my intake and also very essential allergy related encounters on a daily basis such as detergants etc. Hopefully by the end of the month I can draw some conclusions by process of illimination. The research is most likely going to take a projected year. Im hoping in the end to write a book on helping others. Id love to give the benefit of the doubt to doctors, but it is becasue of the many doctors I have faced that I am considering med school instead of law after college next year. I wish I could explain all of my thoughts more detailed, but im just putting this out there for the people who are suffering as well. This can really control your life, and I just want to say, dont give up.

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