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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2000 February;135(1):49-62

Copyright © 2000 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: Italian

Basic mechanisms of cutaneous inflammation. Examples and therapeutic consequences.

Giusti F., Giannetti A.

Università degli Studi - Modena Istituto di Clinica Dermatologica


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This review examines the cellular and molecular mechanisms, which are on the basis of skin inflammation. Three different physiopathological models are considered: psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis. A large number of experimental data, obtained both from humans and animals, shows that all cutaneous cellular components are more or less involved in flogistic processes, where, through mutual interactions, they perform their specific functions. In fact the different components of the skin immune system are subject to mutual controls, substantially based on membrane interactions and the production of soluble molecules, either peptidic or not, whose activity is subtly modulated at a receptorial and post-receptorial level. Thus, inflammatory response reflects the cumulative effect of various biochemical processes and cellular activities, which are tightly interconnected. A deeper knowledge of these mechanisms can lead to new pharmacological hypotheses and to the resulting development of innovative and targeted therapeutic options. Precisely the cytokine pattern, locally evident in various inflammatory pathologies of the skin, is now studied in several drug-design projects. The availability of recombinant molecules, of neutralising monoclonal antibodies, of receptorial antagonists and the possibility of genetically modulating the cytokine expression have interesting clinical implications, thus enabling to manipulate immuno-flogistic responses and restore the cellular and molecular balances of the skin.

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