The microbiota and its importance for our body
The microbiota represents the collection of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses, archaea, parasites) that populate our bodies, in a symbiosis condition in which each party benefits from this relationship. The most studied microbiota is the gut microbiota, and it is now known that its state of balance (eubiosis) is critical for the maintenance of many functions of the body, such as proper immune response, control of inflammation, absorption of nutrients andefficacy of drug therapies, to name a few examples; conversely, a state of imbalance (dysbiosis) could be the cause of pathology.
The connection between microbiota and dermatology
In recent years, many clinical studies have also been performed in non gastro–intestinal areas, to assess the impact of the microbiota especially in gynecology, neurology, pathologies of the cavity oral, oculistics and dermatology, going on to define a intestine–skin axis that from preliminary data appears to participate in the pathogenesis of many dermatoses, including dermatitis atopic, psoriasis, acne, areate alopecia areata.
The role of scalp microbiota in alopecia areata
The Italian Association of Ambulatory Dermatologists (AIDA)recognized the need to explore the link between microbiota and skin, dedicating a meeting for physicians to this very topic, titled “The Dermobioma Clinic: Clinical Aspects.”
The chairman of the course, Dr. Fabio Rinaldi, shared here the very recent publication he authored, which identifies the scalp microbiota as a possible cause of Alopecia Areata development.
Dr. Rinaldi’s hypothesis
In this study, samples ofscalp tissue from subjects with alopecia areata were analyzed and compared with samples from healthy subjects. The results showed, in subjects with alopecia areata, the presence of a bacterial infiltrate around the hair bulb, which was absent in healthy subjects. It is therefore possible, Dr. Rinaldi concludes, that it is these bacteria that trigger the incorrect auto-immune response and that is what further ongoing studies are going to investigate.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease caused by the loss of immunological privilege, a unique feature of certain human structures (such as the maternal-placental unit,the CNS, the anterior chamber of the eye) that makes it impossible for the immune system to recognize, and thus self-attack. The hair follicle is one such structure, and therefore the hair is also, under physiological conditions, invisible to the immune system. In Alopecia Areata, due to as yet undefined causes, the follicle loses this privilege, the immune system suddenly recognizes it and triggers an self-immune response against it.
Further studies to evaluate the effect of the microbiota on the development of dermatological and trichological diseases
The study by Dr. Rinaldi’s group hypothesizes that it is the presence of the bacteria that activates the immune system and causes the loss of immunological privilege immunological privilege. Data to date from the official scientific literature show that the microbiota has an important impact on the individual’s state of well-being. Further studies are needed to evaluate the effect of the microbiota intestinal, skin, and scalp on the development of pathologies dermatologic and tricologic, to identify new 360° therapies for the control of Alopecia Areata.
Dr. Fabio Rinaldi is a Medical Surgeon specializing in Dermatology, founder of the International Hair ResearchFoundation and Scientific Director of the Human MicrobiomeAdvanced Project.
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