Eczema is usually treated by suppressing the immune system, but the aggravating skin condition may also be controlled by boosting selected immune functions. Specifically, eczema may be ameliorated by boosting immune cells known as natural killer (NK) cells.
This counterintuitive finding emerged from an analysis of blood samples taken from 25 eczema patients and 363 controls. When these samples were subjected to multidimensional protein and RNA profiling, deficiencies in certain subsets of NK cells emerged. Most obviously, these NK cells weren’t as numerous in the samples taken from eczema patients. More interestingly, it was found that the cells were likely to follow the activation-induced cell death pathway.