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Psoriasis and the Role of Immunological Memory

By HERWriter
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Sufferers from psoriasis may be in for some good news. A July 25, 2011 article on Sciencedaily.com reported that research from the Centre for Allergy and Environment in Munich (ZAUM), the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technische Universität München may have made some significant inroads as to the cause of this disorder.

Researchers believe that psoriasis may be the unfortunate result of an impaired immunological memory. According to their findings, the immune system's T cells seem to trigger an inflammatory response which can cause psoriasis.

T cells work with B cells to create the immunological memory of the body. When these cells encounter foreign substances an immune response is set off.

In the case of psoriasis, it is uncertain at this time if T cells are triggering an immune response when they recognize substances like pollen, house-dust mites or bacteria. This does happen with atopic eczema (neurodermatitis). Further research is required to learn more about this possible response and psoriasis.

Data from this research was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

T cells are thymus cells that belong to a group of white blood cells called lymphocytes. The thymus is the organ that produces T cells and nurtures them to maturation. There are numerous types of T cells and each type has its own unique role.

When the immune system recognizes and attacks foreign substances that have been encountered previously, this is a function of immunological memory. Essentially, the immune system "remembers" these pathogens and dispatches them swiftly and efficiently.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) psoriasis has its origins in the immune system. The main players are the immune system's white blood cells called T cells which defend against disease and infection.

Normally T cells' accomplishments are to our benefit as they protect us from illness and toxins. However some T cells have an inappropriate reaction, attacking the body as they would foreign invaders. This is called an autoimmune response.

Things can become markedly worse as a series of misplaced immune responses are triggered. Swelling and a quicker than normal turnover of skin cells takes place.

Matters can deteriorate when infections, weather changes, stressors and some medications enter the scene. Severity of psoriasis symptoms can wax and wane without predictability and without warning.

Psoriasis often seems to run in families which strongly suggests a genetic component. Research has identified certain genes that are linked to psoriasis. More research is needed.


Fault in Immune Memory Causes Atopic Eczema and Psoriasis, Study Finds. Sciencedaily.com. Web. August 17, 2011.


What are T Cells? Wisegeek.com. Web. August 17, 2011.

Immunological memory. NCBI. U.S. National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health. Web. August 17, 2011.

Psoriasis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease. Web. August 17, 2011.

Psoriasis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease. Web. August 17, 2011.

Reviewed August 18, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.

Visit Jody's website and blog at http://www.ncubator.ca and http://ncubator.ca/blogger

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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