Study on the pathogenicity of autoantibodies against type XVII collagen in bullous and mucous membrane pemphigoid (Josep Herrero)
Bullous and mucous membrane pemphigoids are subepidermal blistering diseases associated with autoimmunity to type XVII collagen. Several epitope mapping studies have showed epitope clustering in diverse regions of this molecule, mainly on its ectodomain. However, both the fine specificity of these autoantibodies and the pathogenic relevance of specific autoantibodies to different regions of type XVII collagen remain to be elucidated. Removal of pathogenic autoantibodies by plasmapheresis or immunoadsorption therapies has been demonstrated to be of benefit in multiple autoimmune disorders. Development of specific adsorbers without side effects of corticosteroids and immunosupressants, plasma exchange or nonespecific apheresis methods, is a promising field in the therapy of these diseases.
Objectives: We aim at defining the concrete epitopes recognized by patients´ autoantibodies, which are responsible for disease development. The identification of these epitopes is necessary for the development of a specific immunoadsorber for the treatment of these patients.
Role of IL-17 in the interaction of innate and acquired immunity in psoriasis (Ana Gimenez Arnau)
Psoriasis is a chronic cutaneous inflammatory disease affecting 1.17-1.43% of spanish people, most of whom requiere treatment. It is well-known that psoriasis is a multifactorial disease involving both genetic and environemental factors. Immunopathogenic mechanisms are essential but are hardly known. Recently, both innate and acquired immunity have been involved in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. The efficacy of different treatments blocking TNF-? supports the role of innate immunity in psoriasis. Specific treatments targeting acquired immunity, such as cyclosporine A, anti-LFA-1 antibody and alefacept, are also effective. Therefore, it seems to exist a connection between both types of responses in psoriasis.
The exact mechanisms leading to this interaction are poorly characterised. Interleukin (IL)-17 is a cytokine produced by memory T lymphocytes, capable of triggering innate immune response in different cells, such as fibroblasts, keratinocytes, endothelial cells and macrophages through cytokines, chemokines and natural antibicrobial peptids. IL-17 is present in psoriatic lesions, mainly produced by CLA+ T lymphocytes. Skin culture of biopsies of psoriatic lesions is a useful method for studying the effect of exogenous agents, for instance, antibodies, low molecular weight molecules or cytokines, can be analyzed by immunohistochemisty o gene expression. The aim of the study is to characterise the effects of IL-17 on biopsies from psoriatic plaques in vitro.