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Italian Journal of Dermatology and Venereology 2022 August;157(4):306-12

DOI: 10.23736/S2784-8671.22.07265-6

Copyright © 2022 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

The emerging role of the neuroimmune cytokine interleukin-31 in chronic inflammatory skin diseases

Giampiero GIROLOMONI , Martina MAURELLI, Paolo GISONDI

Unit of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, University of Verona, Verona, Italy



Chronic inflammatory skin diseases pose significant challenges for both patients and clinicians worldwide. Atopic dermatitis (AD), the most common of these diseases, affects up to 8% of the adult population depending on geographic location and demographic group, while prurigo nodularis (PN) is a less common disease that causes significant burden. In these inflammatory skin conditions, pruritus is a cardinal symptom. Interleukin 31 (IL-31), described as a neuroimmune modulator, has been shown to have a prominent role in both inflammation and itch. IL-31 acts through a receptor complex consisting of IL-31 receptor α (IL-31RA) and oncostatin M receptor β (OSMRβ). IL-31 is produced by a variety of cells, including type 2 helper T cells, and IL-31 signaling can activate three important pathways: JAK/STAT, P13K/AKT, and ERK/MAPK. IL-31 is elevated in AD and PN, and is thought to induce chemokine genes CCL1, CCL17, and CCL22. The chemokines recruit T cells to affected skin, where more IL-31 is secreted. The IL-31 receptor complex is also abundant in dorsal root ganglia in human tissue, home of primary sensory neurons and the distal source of “itch sensations.” IL-31 and its receptor complex have an important role in chronic inflammatory diseases, including AD and PN, and blocking the IL-31/IL-31RA signaling may represent an important new therapeutic approach for these diseases, which continue to have significant unmet medical needs.


KEY WORDS: IL31 protein, human; Dermatitis, atopic; Prurigo; Inflammation

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