This release is available in German.
In the current online issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Dr. Stefanie Eyerich and Dr. Kilian Eyerich together with their colleagues from Imperial College London and Istituto Dermopatico dell'Immacolata in Rome, present their groundbreaking discovery. It represents a milestone on the way to developing new treatment methods for inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis and allergic reactions and potentially also allergic respiratory diseases such as asthma.
The newly discovered Th22 cells are a previously unknown subset of T helper cells. T helper cells are white blood cells that help activate other immune cells when the body is infected by viruses or bacteria. At the same time they help the body to tolerate own tissue and to prevent or curb inflammation.
The researchers of Helmholtz Zentrum Mnchen and the Center of Allergy and Environment (ZAUM) of Technische Universitt Mnchen, together with their colleagues from London and Rome, discovered the Th22 cells while analyzing skin samples of patients with psoriasis, atopic eczema and allergic contact dermatitis. "During the histological examination we noticed T cells that were primarily characterized by the signaling molecule interleukin-22 (IL-22)," explained Dr. Stefanie Eyerich, the lead author of the study.
Th22 cells aid in tissue repair. At the same time they warn our skin cells of impending environmental dangers and stimulate the skin cells to protect themselves. In addition, they can help to strengthen the barriers of the skin and possibly also of the lung by stimulating cells to produce more collagen.
Dr. Carsten Schmidt-Weber of Imperial College London and coordinator of the study said: "We are seeing an increase in chronic diseases like skin and respiratory diseases. Besides genetic disposition, the causes a
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Helmholtz Zentrum Mnchen - German Research Center for Environmental Health