Principal investigator D. Branch Moody, MD with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University recently discussed another pathway of allergic contact dermatitis. In a recent study, Dr. Moody found that T cells can directly respond to non-peptidic antigens triggering contact dermatitis. They uncovered that this T cell response requires that antigens bind to CD1a, a protein.  Dr. Moody suggests that the more investigators understand how antigens trigger immune response, the more potential for the development of sophisticated drugs designed to detect and block such responses that can be developed in the future.

The Study Authors

The study was led by investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Monash University, Columbia University and Cardiff University. The corresponding author was Elvire A. Bourgeois with Columbia University. TrialSite News reviewed’s brief Q&A interview overview and shares here

The Study Abstract

Industrialization has led to human beings being exposed to increasing numbers of foreign chemicals. Failure of the immune system to tolerate drugs, cosmetics and other skin products causes allergic contact dermatitis, a T-cell mediated disease with rising prevalence.

Present models of T-cell response don’t readily explain activation by most contact dermatitis allergens, which are nonpedtidic molecules. Hence, the study team tested whether CD1a, an abundant protein in human skin, mediates contact allergen recognition. The study team, using a CD1a-autoreactive human T cell clones, identified responses to balsam of Peru, a tree oil widely used in cosmetics and toothpaste. The study identified molecular connections between CD1a and hypersensitivity to consumer products, defining a mechanism that could plausibly explain the many known T cell responses to oily substances.

Lead Research/Investigator

Elvire A. Bourgeois, Columbia University

D. Branch Moody, MD with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University

Call to Action: Dr. Moody reported in his interview that the team initiated further investigation in Oxford, UK and Melbourne, Australia, to design blockers for the antigens that bind to CD1a. For those interested in this fascinating early stage research into contact dermatitis, we recommend following the study authors and checking in from time to time with TrialSite News. Also, you can sign up for our Daily Digest for daily updates.

Source: Science Magazine

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