Fault in immune memory causes atopic eczema and psoriasis

The results of the studies have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Fault in immune memory causes atopic eczema and psoriasis

[Translate to Englisch:] Prof. Dr. Carsten B. Schmidt-Weber, Direktor des Zentrums für Allergie & Umwelt (ZAUM) – Helmholtz Zentrum München und Technische Universität München

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.


Further information

* 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.

Original publication:

Eyerich S. et al., 2011. Mutual Antagonism of T Cells Causing Psoriasis and Atopic Eczema. N Engl J Med 2011;365:231
Link to specialist publication: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1104200

As German Research Center for Environmental Health, Helmholtz Zentrum München pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes mellitus and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München has about 1,900 staff members and is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich on a 50-hectare research campus. Helmholtz Zentrum München is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 17 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 31,000 staff members. www.helmholtz-muenchen.de

Technische Universität München (TUM) is one of Germany’s leading universities. It has roughly 460 professors, 7,500 academic and non-academic staff (including those at the university hospital “Rechts der Isar”), and 26,000 students. It focuses on the engineering sciences, natural sciences, life sciences, medicine, and economic sciences. After winning numerous awards, it was selected as an “Elite University” in 2006 by the Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat) and the German Research Foundation (DFG). The university’s global network includes an outpost in Singapore. TUM is dedicated to the ideal of a top-level research-based entrepreneurial university. http://www.tum.de

Contact for media representatives

Sven Winkler, Helmholtz Zentrum München – Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt (GmbH), Ingolstaedter Landstrasse 1 85764 Neuherberg . Tel.: +49 89-3187-3946 . Fax +49 89-3187-3324. E-Mail: [email protected]


Scientific contact

Prof. Dr. Carsten B. Schmidt-Weber – Director of the Center for Allergy and Environment (ZAUM) – Helmholtz Zentrum München and Technische Universitaet Muenchen, Biedersteiner Str. 29, 80802 München -Tel.: +49 89-4140 3450 – Fax: + 4989-4140-3452