Abstract: Role of dendritic cells in alopecia areata
Alopecia areata (AA) is an inflammatory skin condition where spot-wise baldness occurs on the scalp. (alopecia totalis) or on the whole body (alopecia universalis). Both the cellular and humoral immune system play a role in this. More specific dendritic cells (DC), which take care of antigen captation and presentation, play a key role. Different treatment options are known; a frequently used therapy is contact immunotherapy with 2,3-diphenylcyclopropenone (DPCP, diphencyprone). The exact mechanism of action is not yet known.
With this project, we want to investigate which dendritic cells can be found in human skin, as well which ones play a specific role in the immunopathogenesis of alopecia areata and treatment of it with DPCP.
For this we will include twenty alopecia areata patients and a control group.
Aim 1: Identification and characterization of DC-subsets in the skin and blood of AA patients.
If patients meet the criteria of our research project, a blood sample of 20 ml and two skin biopsies (diameter 3 mm) are taken of the scalp. These samples will be processed using flowcytometry and immunohistochemie to identify the different DC-subsets. As a comparison, the same protocol will be applied in a healthy control group, so we can compare the subsets in healthy persons with AA patients.
Aim 2: Effect of DPCP treatment on the different DC subsets.
If the treatment works, and new hair growth can be seen, we will repeat the protocol. So a new blood sample and two skin biopsies of the scalp will be taken. Again it will be processed at the laboratory following the same protocol. We want to find out if the number and the phenotype of the DC-subsets has changed.