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GIORNALE ITALIANO DI DERMATOLOGIA E VENEREOLOGIA

A Journal on Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases


Official Journal of the Italian Society of Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2007 December;142(6):691-7

language: English

Immune responses to skin infections: lessons learned from the protozoan parasite Leishmania

Von Stebut E.

Department of Dermatology Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Mainz, Germany


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Leishmaniasis is among the most frequent infectious diseases worldwide. The nature of resulting T cell immunity (e.g. T helper [Th]1 versus Th2) is responsible for disease outcome after infection with the parasite Leishmania major. Similar holds true for various non-infectious inflammatory, Th1- or Th2-dominated diseases (e.g. psoriasis vulgaris, atopic dermatitis, allergic asthma) and, thus, elements regulating the development of Th immunity are of great importance. Dendritic cells (DC, e.g. Langerhans cells, dermal DC) residing in skin are the cells responsible for T cell priming and education in skin infections and other inflammatory processes. In a systematic comparison, we found that DC from mice with Th2 immune responses show an altered cytokine profile, as compared to DC from mice with Th1 immunity. Among these, interleukin (IL)-1α/β and inhibitory IL-12p40 homodimer are differentially expressed. Each of these factors contributes to the unsuccessful development of Th1 Immunity in these mice. Therapeutic modulation of this phase of an immune response alters the course of disease. The better we are able to understand the factors that contribute to the individual pathologic alterations of the immune system of a patient, the better we will be able to identify possible targets for modern, immune-based therapies in the future.

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