Allergy to nickel is a frequent health problem that affects as many as 60 million people in Europe and poses a considerable burden to the EU economy. In order to gain a better insight into the nature of the disease, this laboratory-based project will be carried out on nickel-specific T-lymphocytes ¿ cells playing a key role in initiating the disease.
Particular attention will be paid to differences between lymphocytes involved in two different clinical forms of nickel allergy: nickel-induced allergic rhinit is (Ni-AR) and nickel-induced allergic contact dermatitis (Ni-ACD). The working hypothesis is that these lymphocytes express different homing antigens and/or chemokine receptors that allow them to migrate and initiate inflammatory processes in particular organs, i.e. in the nasal mucosa or the skin.
In order to verify this hypothesis, lymphocytes of patients with Ni-AR, Ni-ACD, and healthy controls will be studied for their functional characteristics (cytokine secretion) and the presence of molecules involved in lymphocyte homing. This project is an extension of the research carried out within the applicant's current Marie Curie Individual Fellowship and will enable him to transfer the newly acquired knowledge and laboratory techniques to his country of origin.
The reintegration host has a long experience in nickel research and provides health care to many patients with Ni-AR and Ni-ACD, which will provide a good opportunity for recruiting volunteers to donate blood samples needed for this study.
The expected results will provide a better understanding of the mechanisms of nickel allergy and will be a first step towards the development of an in vitro method for the diagnosis of nickel rhinitis.
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