Psoriasis is a disorder characterized by the recruitment of inflammatory dendritic cells, macrophages, and T cells to the skin causing the hyperproliferation of keratinocytes which leads to pain, itching, and discomfort. Severe cases are often treated with common immune modulators such as methotrexate and cyclosporine. But if we take a leap away from our immune-centered universe, and surgically de-nerve the affected areas in psoriasis patients, we can alleviate not only the associated pain but also directly reduce inflammation. With this finding in mind, Riol-Blanco et al. were able to show earlier this year that a subset of sensory neurons in the skin interact with dermal dendritic cells to produce IL-23 in a mouse model of psoriasis.
All lymphoid organs are innervated and immune cells express a number of neuronal cell markers. It should come as no surprise then that the immune system – like the digestive or respiratory system – is closely interconnected with the nervous system. The flow of information, of course, runs both ways and immune dysregulation can lead to a number of neuronal and psychological disorders.
In this fall issue of IMMpress Magazine, we touch upon these themes with thought-provoking articles on the neuronal control of the immune system. Delving deeper, we also examine mental health in graduate school; an often unspoken, but all-too-important topic.
As we complete our eighth issue of IMMpress, it is our great pleasure to announce that we will be retiring as co-editors-in-chief of the magazine and welcoming Kieran Manion and Catherine Schrankel into this role. It has been a fun and fulfilling journey and we would like to thank everyone who has participated in this wonderful and challenging experience.
Thank you to all the writers, editors, designers, photographers, readers, and administrative staff. We would also like to thank all of our sponsors who have helped make this project sustainable and our Department Chair, Dr. Juan Carlos Zúñiga-Pflücker for his unwavering support and unabated enthusiasm for IMMpress.
What started as a proposal to improve the monthly departmental newsletter quickly transformed into 500 copies of a 32-page, quarterly magazine printed and delivered to all alumni, students, and faculty, and read online by many more from countries around the world. It has been an amazing journey for IMMpress and an absolute privilege for us to have been a part of it.