New effective therapeutic approach against neurodermatitis found

New effective therapeutic approach against neurodermatitis found

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Therapy approach against neurodermatitis found

How does the immune system react to fungi on our skin? Researchers at the University of Zurich were able to show that the same immune cells that protect against yeasts promote the inflammatory symptoms of neurodermatitis. Antibody therapy could alleviate the chronic skin disease.

The skin of humans and animals is densely populated with fungi. It is believed that yeasts called Malassezia, which along with bacteria and viruses are part of the healthy microflora of the skin, strengthen the immune system and prepare the immune system to deal with dangerous pathogens - similar to the way certain bacteria do. Unlike the bacteria, however, little is known about the physiological processes that keep the ubiquitous fungi on the skin under control.

Immunologists from the University of Zurich are now showing that the immune system is responsible for the balance on the skin. For the first time in mice and humans, they were able to demonstrate that the Malassezia fungi stimulate the immune system to produce the messenger substance interleukin-17. If the messenger substance is not released or the interleukin-17-producing defense cells are missing, the fungus can grow without restriction and overgrow the skin.

Fungus can promote skin allergy

But what happens when the balance on the surface of the body gets out of joint? There is evidence that the normally harmless Malassezia mushrooms play a role in neurodermatitis. The present study confirms that the interleukin-17-producing immune cells, which normally protect against the fungi and keep their growth in check, contribute to the development of neurodermatitis. The fungus, so to speak, becomes an allergen on the skin and causes an overreaction of the immune system with corresponding inflammatory characteristics on the skin. Experiments with cells from affected neurodermatitis patients support this finding.

Treatment with therapeutic antibodies

The study suggests that atopic dermatitis, therapeutic antibodies that neutralize the effects of interleukin 17 may be effective. These antibodies already exist and are used with great success in the treatment of psoriasis, according to the researchers. However, it remains to be clarified why the immune response to the ubiquitous Malassezia fungus can become pathological and why the normally protective immune mechanisms fail in neurodermatitis patients. You can find the study here.

Author and source information

Video: How to relieve itchy skin (July 2022).


  1. Zulkim

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  4. Mekus

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