T cells link allergy and skin abrasion
Rijeka/London – Allergies like asthma or psoriasis might arise from environmental toxins, suggest researchers from Rijeka University (Croatia) and King’s College (London). In mice, they identified a special population of T cells that trigger the systemic Th2-mediated immune reaction seen in allergy and asthma (Science, doi: 10.1126/science.1211250). Following stressing the mice’s skin by gently shaving them, the researchers under lead author Jessica Strid observed activation of so-called gd T cells after they subsequently applied the normally harmless antigen albumin via a scratch. This cell population is normally involved in a local lymphoid stress-surveillance response. However in mice, the cell activation triggered a systemic Th2-mediated response, which required interaction of gd T cells in the epidermis with Th2 lymphocytes carrying the NKG2D receptor protein. The interaction is mediated by the NKG2D ligand Rae-1 in mice, which seems to act as a stress sensor in the skin.