Investigating the Immunopathogenesis of alopecia areata, and the link to Intestinal Inflammation

University of Glasgow

Active award

Student: Kym Bain

Year Award Started: 2016

Alopecia areata (AA) is the most prevalent autoimmune disease and affects 2% of the world population. Close examination of the genetics of people with AA has recently revealed that this disease has much in common with other forms of autoimmunity, including rheumatoid arthritis, coeliac disease, and psoriasis. In particular, the immune system in AA patients is altered; cells that normally function to control infections are not properly controlled and appear to attack hair follicles, causing the disease. Treatments that inhibit these immune responses have been shown to limit the disease in AA patients and in animals with similar symptoms. As yet, little is known about how these immune responses are controlled, or the mechanisms driving hair loss. Much has recently been revealed about other similar diseases, including the fact that immune responses made in the intestine have a profound influence on immune-mediated diseases in other parts of the body. Therefore, there are now fantastic opportunities to make rapid progress towards understanding the mechanisms driving, and possibly combating, AA.

Research area: Infections, inflammation or immunology


Dr Simon Milling
Institute for Infection, Immunity and Inflammation
Professor Iain McInnes
Institute for Infection, Immunity and Inflammation

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