Impaired immunological memory causes psoriasis, atopic eczema

Scientists from the Centre for Allergy and Environment in Munich (ZAUM), the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technische Universität München have reached a milestone in their specialist area with their discovery of the causes of atopic eczema and psoriasis. The results of the studies have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The findings of a research study conducted by Stefanie and Kilian Eyerich show that both diseases are caused by an impaired immunological memory. The study has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine and marks a milestone in research into the cause of these widespread diseases.

The couple, who are engaged in research at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Department of Dermatology and Allergology Biederstein, Technische Universität München (TUM), based their study on a rare group of patients who suffer from both diseases. As their results show, the T-cells of the immune system in the skin activate an inflammatory programme that causes either atopic eczema or psoriasis. Professor Ring, co-author and Director of Department of Dermatology and Allergology Biederstein believes that "this study highlights the critical role of T-cells in Psoriasis."

The scientists now aim to find out which T-cell molecules are responsible for triggering these diseases. "Clearly, future therapy strategies should focus on the impairment of the immunological memory," says Professor Carsten Schmidt-Weber, Director of ZAUM.

* T-cells together with the B-cells form the body's immunological memory. They initiate an immune response when they recognice substances that are foreign to the body.

* In the case of atopic eczema / neurodermatitis, the T-cells recognise substances that trigger an immune response: these include components of pollen, house-dust mites and also bacteria. In the case of psoriasis, it remains unclear which molecules are responsible for the response.

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