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Papers of the Week

2022 Mar 02

J Allergy Clin Immunol

T cells in the skin: lymphoma and inflammatory skin disease.


Roediger B, Schlapbach C
J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2022 Mar 02.
PMID: 35247433.


T cells are established contributors to the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis (AD) and psoriasis, yet whether they are the key drivers or simply unwitting participants remains incompletely understood. Conversely, malignant T cells are the undisputed culprits of cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL), a group of diseases that share key clinical, histopathological and molecular features with inflammatory skin disease (ISD). Here, we compare the pathogenesis of ISD and CTCL and discuss the resulting insights. Recurrent, skin-limited disease implicates skin-resident T cells (T) in both ISD and CTCL. In CTCL, malignant T cells recruit benign T cells into inflammatory skin lesions, a disease-amplifying function also proposed for pathogenic T cells in ISD. Mechanistically, cytokines produced by malignant T cells in CTCL and by pathogenic T cells in ISD, respectively, are likely both necessary and sufficient to drive skin inflammation and pruritus, which in turn promotes skin barrier dysfunction and dysbiosis. Therapies for ISD target T cell effector functions but do not address the chronicity of disease while treatments for CTCL target malignant T cells but not primarily the symptoms of the disease. By integrating our understanding of ISD and CTCL, important insights into pathogenesis and therapy can be made which may improve the lives of sufferers of both disease groups.