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Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia: A Retrospective Analysis of 72 Patients from a German Academic Center.

Frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) describes the scarring, band-like recession of the frontotemporal hairline. Treatment is difficult, and currently, no evidence-based therapy exists. The purpose of this study is to report clinical features and treatment responses in a large cohort of patients with FFA. The authors analyzed a series of 72 patients with a clinical or histologic diagnosis of FFA. A total of 70 patients were female (97.2%), and 2 were male (2.8%). In females, the first onset of FFA was postmenopausal in 81.4% (n = 57). Documented eyebrow loss was present in 61.1% (n = 44), whereas involvement of eyelashes and body hair was reported in only 4.2% (n = 3) and 5.6% (n = 4), respectively. Clinical symptoms were itching (40.3%, n = 29) and trichodynia (4.2%, n = 3) in the alopecic area. Virtually all patients were treated with topical high-potency steroids. Additional treatments were topical tacrolimus, systemic retinoids, and hydroxychloroquine. A total of 48 patients (66.7%) received a combination of high-potency steroids with topical pimecrolimus. In this subgroup, subjective improvement or disease stabilization was reported by 64.6% (n = 31), and the hairline was stabilized on average after 9 to 12 months of therapy. The combination therapy of topical high-potency steroids with pimecrolimus may be an effective and steroid-saving treatment for FFA.

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FKBP12-Dependent Inhibition of Calcineurin Mediates Immunosuppressive Antifungal Drug Action in Malassezia.

The genus Malassezia includes yeasts that are commonly found on the skin or hair of animals and humans as commensals and are associated with a number of skin disorders. We have previously developed an Agrobacterium tumefaciens transformation system effective for both targeted gene deletion and insertional mutagenesis in Malassezia furfur and M. sympodialis In the present study, these molecular resources were applied to characterize the immunophilin FKBP12 as the target of tacrolimus (FK506), ascomycin, and pimecrolimus, which are calcineurin inhibitors that are used as alternatives to corticosteroids in the treatment of inflammatory skin disorders such as those associated with Malassezia species. While M. furfur and M. sympodialis showed in vitro sensitivity to these agents, fkb1Δ mutants displayed full resistance to all three of them, confirming that FKBP12 is the target of these calcineurin inhibitors and is essential for their activity. We found that calcineurin inhibitors act additively with fluconazole through an FKBP12-dependent mechanism. Spontaneous M. sympodialis isolates resistant to calcineurin inhibitors had mutations in the gene encoding FKBP12 in regions predicted to affect the interactions between FKBP12 and FK506 based on structural modeling. Due to the presence of homopolymer nucleotide repeats in the gene encoding FKBP12, an msh2Δ hypermutator of M. sympodialis was engineered and exhibited an increase of more than 20-fold in the rate of emergence of resistance to FK506 compared to that of the wild-type strain, with the majority of the mutations found in these repeats.IMPORTANCEMalassezia species are the most abundant fungal components of the mammalian and human skin microbiome. Although they belong to the natural skin commensal flora of humans, they are also associated with a variety of clinical skin disorders. The standard treatment for Malassezia-associated inflammatory skin infections is topical corticosteroids, although their use has adverse side effects and is not recommended for long treatment periods. Calcineurin inhibitors have been proposed as a suitable alternative to treat patients affected by skin lesions caused by Malassezia Although calcineurin inhibitors are well-known as immunosuppressive drugs, they are also characterized by potent antimicrobial activity. In the present study, we investigated the mechanism of action of FK506 (tacrolimus), ascomycin (FK520), and pimecrolimus in M. furfur and M. sympodialis and found that the conserved immunophilin FKBP12 is the target of these drugs with which it forms a complex that directly binds calcineurin and inhibits its signaling activity. We found that FKBP12 is also required for the additive activity of calcineurin inhibitors with fluconazole. Furthermore, the increasing natural occurrence in fungal pathogen populations of mutator strains poses a high risk for the rapid emergence of drug resistance and adaptation to host defense. This led us to generate an engineered hypermutator msh2Δ mutant strain of M. sympodialis and genetically evaluate mutational events resulting in a substantially increased rate of resistance to FK506 compared to that of the wild type. Our study paves the way for the novel clinical use of calcineurin inhibitors with lower immunosuppressive activity that could be used clinically to treat a broad range of fungal infections, including skin disorders caused by Malassezia.

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A 5-year randomized trial on the safety and efficacy of pimecrolimus in atopic dermatitis: a critical appraisal - author response.


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Granuloma Faciale Treatment: A Systematic Review.

Granuloma faciale is an uncommon benign chronic dermatosis characterized by reddish-brown to violaceous asymptomatic plaques appearing predominantly on the face. The pathogenesis of granuloma faciale remains unclear, and it is frequently unresponsive to therapy. This systematic review aims to summarize all recent publications on the management of granuloma faciale. The publications are mainly individual case reports, small case series and a few retrospective studies. Treatment options included topical, intralesional and systemic corticosteroids, topical pimecrolimus and tacrolimus, topical and systemic dapsone, systemic hydroxychloroquine, clofazimine, and tumour necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors. More invasive therapies using lasers as well as cryosurgery and surgery were also reported. Topical glucocorticosteroids and tacrolimus remain treatments of first choice, possibly supplemented by topical dapsone.

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A 5-year randomized trial on the safety and efficacy of pimecrolimus in atopic dermatitis: a critical appraisal.

The PETITE study (Sigurgeirsson et al.) aimed to compare safety and efficacy of pimecrolimus 1% cream (PIM) and low-to-medium-potency topical corticosteroids (TCS) in children with mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis (AD).

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A 5-year randomized trial on the safety and efficacy of pimecrolimus in atopic dermatitis: a critical appraisal - comment.


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Electromagnetic fields may act via calcineurin inhibition to suppress immunity, thereby increasing risk for opportunistic infection: Conceivable mechanisms of action.

While a good number of studies have demonstrated that modern, man-made ambient electromagnetic fields can have both stimulatory and inhibitory effect on immune system function, the precise mechanisms have yet to be completely elucidated. It is hypothesized here that, depending on the parameters, one of the means by which long-term electromagnetic field exposure has the potential to eventually lead to immunosuppression is via downstream inhibition of the enzyme calcineurin - a protein phosphatase, which activates the T-cells of the immune system and can be blocked by pharmaceutical agents. Calcineurin is the target of a class of pharmaceuticals called calcineurin inhibitors (e.g., cyclosporine, pimecrolimus and tacrolimus). When organ transplant recipients take such pharmaceuticals to prevent or suppress organ transplant rejection, one of the major side effects is immunosuppression leading to increased risk of opportunistic infection: e.g., fungal, viral (Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus), atypical bacterial (Nocardia, Listeria, mycobacterial, mycoplasma), and parasitic (e.g., toxoplasmosis) infections. Frequent anecdotal reports, as well as a number of scientific studies, have shown that electromagnetic field exposures may indeed produce the same effect: a weakened immune system leading to an increase in the same or similar opportunistic infections: i.e., fungal, viral, atypical bacterial, and parasitic infections. Furthermore, numerous research studies have shown that man-made electromagnetic fields have the potential to open voltage-gated calcium channels, which can in turn produce a pathological increase of intracellular calcium, leading downstream to the pathological production of a series of reactive oxygen species. Finally, there are a number of research studies demonstrating the inhibition of calcineurin by a pathological production of reactive oxygen species. Hence, it is hypothesized here that exposures to electromagnetic fields have the potential to inhibit immune system response by means of an eventual pathological increase in the influx of calcium into the cytoplasm of the cell, which induces a pathological production of reactive oxygen species, which in turn can have an inhibitory effect on calcineurin. Calcineurin inhibition leads to immunosuppression, which in turn leads to a weakened immune system and an increase in opportunistic infection.

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Topical Therapies in Psoriasis.

Topical therapy as monotherapy is useful in psoriasis patients with mild disease. Topical agents are also used as adjuvant for moderate-to-severe disease who are being concurrently treated with either ultraviolet light or systemic medications. Emollients are useful adjuncts to the treatment of psoriasis. Use of older topical agents such as anthralin and coal tar has declined over the years. However, they are cheaper and can still be used for the treatment of difficult psoriasis refractory to conventional treatment. Salicylic acid can be used in combination with other topical therapies such as topical corticosteroids (TCS) and calcineurin inhibitors for the treatment of thick limited plaques to increase the absorption of the latter into the psoriatic plaques. Low- to mid-potent TCS are used in facial/flexural psoriasis and high potent over palmoplantar/thick psoriasis lesions. The addition of noncorticosteroid treatment can also facilitate the avoidance of long-term daily TCS. Tacrolimus and pimecrolimus can be used for the treatment of facial and intertriginous psoriasis. Tazarotene is indicated for stable plaque psoriasis usually in combination with other therapies such as TCS. Vitamin D analogs alone in combination with TCS are useful in stable plaques over limbs and palmoplantar psoriasis. Topical therapies for scalp psoriasis include TCS, Vitamin D analogs, salicylic acid, coal tar, and anthralin in various formulations such as solutions, foams, and shampoos. TCS, vitamin D analogs, and tazarotene can be used in the treatment of nail psoriasis.

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Treatment of oral lichen planus. Systematic review and therapeutic guide.

In this systematic review, 55 structured articles on the therapeutic efficacy against pain and clinical signs of oral lichen planus (OLP) were analysed. The literature search was developed according to the criteria of the PRISMA system, selecting the tests performed using one of the following methodological designs: drug (active ingredient) vs. drug in different excipient or concentration, drug vs. different active principle, drug vs. phytotherapy and drug vs. treatment with phototherapy. Based on the results, an algorithm is proposed to guide the treatment of OLP in its atrophic and erosive clinical forms. The use of clobetasol propionate at 0.025-0.05% of topical application as the first therapeutic alternative is highlighted. Secondly, 0.1% tacrolimus and 1% pimecrolimus also formulated for its topical regimen. And finally, we address the use of systemic corticosteroids and the application of diode lasers.

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Frontal fibrosing alopecia among men: A clinicopathologic study of 7 cases.

Frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) is a lichen planopilaris-variant scarring alopecia that has rarely been described in men.

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