In Addition to Triggering Itching (Pruritus), IL-31 Acts on Sensory Neurons to Restrain Type 2 Inflammation in the Skin During Chronic Allergen Exposure; Finding May Be “Game-Changing”

It can be a relief to scratch the occasional itch, but when itch gets out of control, it can become a serious health problem. How does the body know when to stop? Scientists at UC San Francisco (UCSF) are getting close to an answer. In a breakthrough that could transform how doctors treat conditions from eczema to allergies, they have discovered a feedback loop centered on a single immune protein called IL-31 that both causes the urge to itch and dials back nearby inflammation. The findings, published on October 13th in Science Immunology, lay the groundwork for a new generation of drugs that interact more intelligently with the body’s innate ability to self-regulate. The open-access article is titled “IL-31–Dependent Neurogenic Inflammation Restrains Cutaneous Type 2 Immune Response in Allergic Dermatitis.”
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