How obesity can rewire the immune system and the response to immunotherapy—and how to change that

LA JOLLA—When mice with atopic dermatitis—a common type of allergic skin inflammation—are treated with drugs that target the immune system, their thickened, itchy skin generally heals quickly. But scientists have now discovered that the same treatment in obese mice makes their skin worse, instead. That is because obesity changes the molecular underpinnings of allergic inflammation, both in mice and humans.

For the new study, researchers at the Salk Institute, Gladstone Institutes and UC San Francisco (UCSF) teamed up. Their findings, reported in the journal Nature on March 30, 2022, shed light on how obesity can change the immune system and, potentially, how clinicians might be able to better treat allergies and asthma in obese people.

Top from left: Ye Zheng, Michael Downes, Ronald Evans, Annette Akins and Yuqiong Liang Bottom from left: Alex Marson and Sagar Bapat
Top from left: Ye Zheng,…
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