Imbalance of T‐helper 17 and regulatory T cells in patients with alopecia areata

    June 2015 in “The Journal of Dermatology
    Yong Han, Yuan Sheng, Feng Xu, Shaohua Qi, Xiaojing Liu, Ruiming Hu, Ying Miao, Guangjian Huang, Qinping Yang
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    TLDR People with alopecia areata have more Th17 cells and fewer Treg cells, which may be key to the condition's development.
    The study from 8 years ago examined the imbalance of T-helper 17 (Th17) and regulatory T cells (Treg) in 177 patients with alopecia areata (AA) and compared them to 42 healthy controls. It was found that patients with AA had significantly higher levels of Th17 cells and significantly lower levels of Treg cells. Th17 levels were particularly elevated in patients with a shorter disease duration or in the active phase of AA, and there was a negative correlation between Th17 levels and disease duration. In contrast, Treg levels were higher in patients with severe AA compared to those with mild AA. Scalp tissue analysis from 33 AA patients and 15 healthy controls showed increased IL-17+ lymphocytes and decreased Foxp3+ lymphocytes in AA patients, supporting the blood findings. The study concluded that an immune imbalance characterized by increased Th17 and decreased Treg levels is likely central to the pathogenesis of AA.
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