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General Health Channel
Reported October 12, 2012

Stop The Itch! New Eczema Treatment

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, an inflammatory skin disease, can be debilitating and disfiguring for some people. Most people get eczema as infants, and they tend to outgrow it by adolescence, but some people continue to experience flare-ups of an itchy rash on and off throughout life. Now, researchers have discovered a potential new treatment for the condition.

Using mice, researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital demonstrated that by blocking it specific T cells they can lessen the disease.

In eczema, immune T cells invade the skin and secrete factors that drive an allergic response, making the skin itch. Dr. Raif Geha, of Boston Children's Hospital, and his colleagues now show that scratching the skin precipitates the condition by encouraging an influx of other immune cells called neutrophils. These neutrophils secrete a lipid called leukotriene B4 that calls in more neutrophils, and more importantly, potent immune T cells that are the hallmark of eczema. These cells cause inflammation that aggravates the skin further. The investigators suspected that blocking the onslaught of these cells might slow down the disease or even stop it in its tracks.

Dr. Geha and his team also wondered whether the production of leukotriene B4 served to recruit T cells to the site, and indeed that was the case. "We showed that a drug that blocks the production of leukotriene B4 blocks the development of allergic skin inflammation in a mouse model of eczema," Dr. Geha was quoted as saying. His team also found that deleting the receptors on immune cells that bind to leukotriene B4 had a similar effect.

"Our findings suggest that neutrophils play a key role in allergic skin inflammation and that blockade of leukotriene B4 and its receptor might provide a new therapy for eczema," Dr. Michiko Oyoshi was quoted as saying.

Source: Immunity, October 2012
 

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