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Papers of the Week

2022 Mar 11

Ital J Dermatol Venerol

The emerging role of the neuroimmune cytokine interleukin-31 in chronic inflammatory skin diseases.


Girolomoni G, Maurelli M, Gisondi P
Ital J Dermatol Venerol. 2022 Mar 11.
PMID: 35274883.


Chronic inflammatory skin diseases pose significant challenges for both patients and clinicians worldwide. Atopic dermatitis (AD), the most common of these diseases, affects up to 8% of the adult population depending on geographic location and demographic group, while prurigo nodularis (PN) is a less common disease that causes significant burden. In these inflammatory skin conditions, pruritus is a cardinal symptom. Interleukin 31 (IL-31), described as a neuroimmune modulator, has been shown to have a prominent role in both inflammation and itch. IL-31 acts through a receptor complex consisting of IL-31 receptor α (IL-31RA) and oncostatin M receptor β (OSMRβ). IL-31 is produced by a variety of cells, including type 2 helper T cells, and IL-31 signaling can activate three important pathways: JAK/STAT, P13K/AKT, and ERK/MAPK. IL-31 is elevated in AD and PN, and is thought to induce chemokine genes CCL1, CCL17, and CCL22. The chemokines recruit T cells to affected skin, where more IL-31 is secreted. The IL-31 receptor complex is also abundant in dorsal root ganglia in human tissue, home of primary sensory neurons and the distal source of "itch sensations". IL-31 and its receptor complex have an important role in chronic inflammatory diseases, including AD and PN, and blocking the IL-31/IL-31RA signaling may represent an important new therapeutic approach for these diseases, which continue to have significant unmet medical needs.