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Drug induced modulation of T cell activation and differentiation in atopic dermatitis patients

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a T cell dependent chronic relapsing inflammatory skin disorder. Cyclosporine A (CsA) has been shown to be an effective treatment for severe AD. We studied the effect of low-dose CsA therapy on T cell activity and T cell differentiation in AD patients. Using a whole blood assay we demonstrated that TcR signalling in peripheral blood T cells of CsA treated AD patients is reduced to 42% ± 18 but not totally blocked. Such partial inhibition of TcR signalling allowed regulatory T cell induction under in vitro conditions. Therefore we asked is there an in vivo regulatory T cell induction, too. Indeed AD patients under low-dose CsA therapy have higher numbers and frequencies of functional regulatory T cells compared to untreated AD patients. To evaluate the causal connection between low-dose CsA treatment and higher regulatory T cell numbers we studied individual patients before and during CsA therapy. The data clearly indicate increased numbers and frequencies of regulatory T cells after onset of CsA therapy which remained stable during the therapy. The therapeutic effect of low-dose CsA therapy in AD patients could be due to both, inhibition of T cell hyperactivity and induction of suppressor T cells.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Brandt, C., Radbruch, A., Worm, M. et al. Drug induced modulation of T cell activation and differentiation in atopic dermatitis patients. Cell Commun Signal 7 (Suppl 1), A69 (2009).

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