Thomas Volz

University of Tuebingen, Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

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Publications (15)70.1 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a T cell-mediated inflammatory skin disease, with TH2 cells initiating acute flares. This inflamed skin is immediately colonized with Staphylococcus aureus, which provides potent Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2 ligands. However, the effect of TLR2 ligands on the development of TH2-mediated AD inflammation remains unclear. We investigated the progression of TH2 cell-mediated dermatitis after TLR2 activation. Using models for acute AD with TH2 cells initiating cutaneous inflammation, we investigated the consequences of TLR2 activation. Dermatitis, as assessed by changes in ear skin thickness and histology, was analyzed in different BALB/c and C57BL/6 wild-type and knockout mouse strains, and immune profiling was carried out by using in vitro and ex vivo cytokine analyses. We show that TH2 cell-mediated dermatitis is self-limiting and depends on IL-4. Activation of TLR2 converted the limited TH2 dermatitis to chronic cutaneous inflammation. We demonstrate that the concerted activation of TLR2 and IL-4 receptor on dendritic cells is sufficient for this conversion. As an underlying mechanism, we found that the combinatorial sensing of the innate TLR2 ligands and the adaptive TH2 cytokine IL-4 suppressed anti-inflammatory IL-10 and consequently led to the exacerbation and persistence of dermatitis. Our data demonstrate that innate TLR2 signals convert transient TH2 cell-mediated dermatitis into persistent inflammation, as seen in chronic human AD, through IL-4-mediated suppression of IL-10. For the first time, these data show how initial AD lesions convert to chronic inflammation and provide another rationale for targeting IL-4 in patients with AD, a therapeutic approach that is currently under development.
    The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology 04/2014; · 12.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Beneficial effects of non-pathogenic bacteria are increasingly recognized. We reported in a placebo-controlled study with atopic dermatitis (AD) patients that cutaneous exposure to lysates of non-pathogenic bacteria alleviates skin inflammation. To now unravel underlying mechanisms, immune consequences of sensing non-pathogenic bacterium Vitreoscilla filiformis lysate (Vf) were characterized analyzing (i) differentiation of dendritic cells (DC) and, consecutively, (ii) effector functions of DC and Th cells in vitro and in a murine model of AD in NC/Nga mice in vivo. Topical treatment with Vf significantly reduced AD-like inflammation in NC/Nga mice. Importantly, cutaneous exposure to Vf in combination with the allergen FITC significantly reduced also subsequent allergen-induced dermatitis indicating active immune modulation. Indeed, innate sensing of Vf predominantly induced IL-10 producing DC, which was dependent on TLR2-activation. Vf-induced IL-10+ DC primed naïve CD4+ T helper cells to become regulatory IFN-γ(low) IL-10(high) Tr1 cells. These IL-10(high) Tr1 cells were also induced by Vf in vivo and strongly suppressed T effector cells and inflammation. In conclusion we show that innate sensing of non-pathogenic bacteria by TLR2 induces tolerogenic DC and regulatory Tr1 cells suppressing T effector cells and cutaneous inflammation. These findings indicate a promising therapeutic strategy for inflammatory skin diseases like AD.Journal of Investigative Dermatology accepted article preview online, 28 June 2013; doi:10.1038/jid.2013.291.
    Journal of Investigative Dermatology 06/2013; · 6.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The skin, hair and nail changes in four distinct ectodermal dysplasia syndromes are compared and reviewed. These syndromes comprise Christ-Siemens-Touraine syndrome; ectrodactyly, ectodermal dysplasia and cleft lip/palate syndrome; ankyloblepharon-ectodermal defects-cleft lip/palate syndrome and Rapp-Hodgkin syndrome. A comprehensive overview of the dermatological signs and symptoms in these syndromes was generated from the database of the Ectodermal Dysplasia Network Germany, the clinical findings in the patients seen in our department and an extensive review of the literature. The findings included abnormalities of skin, sweating, hair and nails. These clinical findings are discussed in relation to the underlying molecular defects known to play a role in these four ectodermal dysplasia syndromes.
    European journal of dermatology : EJD. 07/2012; 22(5):605-13.
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    ABSTRACT: T-cell activation and the subsequent transformation of activated T cells into T-cell blasts require profound changes in cell volume. However, the impact of cell volume regulation for T-cell immunology has not been characterized. Here we studied the role of the cell-volume regulating osmolyte transporter Taut for T-cell activation in Taut-deficient mice. T-cell mediated recall responses were severely impaired in taut(-/-) mice as shown with B16 melanoma rejection and hapten-induced contact hypersensitivity. CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells were unequivocally located within peripheral lymph nodes of unprimed taut(-/-) mice but significantly decreased in taut(-/-) compared with taut(+/+) mice following in vivo activation. Further analysis revealed that Taut is critical for rescuing T cells from activation-induced cell death in vitro and in vivo as shown with TCR, superantigen, and antigen-specific activation. Consequently, reduction of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in taut(-/-) mice upon antigen challenge resulted in impaired in vivo generation of T-cell memory. These findings disclose for the first time that volume regulation in T cells is an element in the regulation of adaptive immune responses and that the osmolyte transporter Taut is crucial for T-cell survival and T-cell mediated immune reactions.
    European Journal of Immunology 04/2012; 42(4):831-41. · 4.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract is missing (Letter).
    Acta Dermato-Venereologica 02/2012; 92(4):393-4.
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    ABSTRACT: The innate immune system is based on pathogen recognition receptors that bind conserved microbial molecular structures, so called pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). The characterization of the innate immune system was long based on a linear step-wise concept of recognition, activation pathways and effector defense mechanisms. Only more recently it was recognized that the innate immune system needs regulatory elements, sideways and crosstalks that allows it to fine tune and adapt its response. Thus, it is an emerging field within innate immunity research to try to understand how the immune outcome of innate immune sensing is regulated and why immune responses can be substantially different, even though the same PAMPs may have been 'sensed' at the surface organs such as the skin. Only the expansion of the innate immune system from 'pure' linear activation pathways to fine tuned and regulated innate immune networks allows us to integrate the generation of gradually accentuated and qualitatively different effector and tolerogenic immune responses. This article provides a review of the basic concepts and players of the innate immune system and will present some of the newer data defining the innate immune networks effectively regulating the immune homoeostasis and immune effector mechanisms with special focus on the skin as one of the organs involved in regulating the immune interface between the environment and the organism.
    Experimental Dermatology 01/2012; 21(1):61-9. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Innate immune sensing of Staphylococcus aureus unravels basic mechanisms leading to either effective antibacterial immune responses or harmful inflammation. The nature and properties of S. aureus-derived pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMPs) are still not completely understood. We investigated the innate immune sensing of peptidoglycan (PGN) structures and subsequent immune consequences. Macromolecular PGN (PGN(polymer)) preparations activated NF-κB through human Toll-like receptors 2 (TLR2), as shown by luciferase reporter assays, and induced murine dendritic cell (DC) maturation and cytokine production. In contrast, PGN(polymer) from lgt-mutant S. aureus failed to stimulate human TLR2, demonstrating that lipoproteins within the macromolecular structures of PGN(polymer), but not PGN itself, activate TLR2. Thus, HPLC-purified monomeric PGN (PGN(monomer)) structures were investigated. Strikingly, PGN(monomer) completely lacked NF-κB activation, lacked TLR2 activity, and failed to functionally activate murine DCs. However, PGN(monomer) in concert with various TLR ligands most effectively stimulated DCs to up-regulate IL-12p70 and IL-23 by ≥3- to 5-fold. Consequently, DCs coactivated by PGN(monomer) markedly up-regulated Th1 and Th17 while suppressing Th2 cell priming. Notably, PGN(monomer) failed to coactivate NOD2(-/-) DCs. This demonstrates that PGN(monomer) is a natural ligand of NOD2, which was previously only demonstrated for synthetic compounds like muramyl dipeptide. Interestingly, murine DCs lacking TLR2 remained mute in response to the combinative immune sensing of S. aureus-derived PAMPs, including PGN(monomer), providing for the first time an explanation of why S. aureus can colonize the nasal mucosa in the absence of inflammation. This is very likely based on the lack of TLR2 expression in mucosal epithelial cells under normal conditions, which determines the unresponsiveness to S. aureus PAMPs.
    The FASEB Journal 10/2010; 24(10):4089-102. · 5.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Epidemiologic studies suggest that elderly people are more prone to develop severe anaphylactic reactions. However, the exact cause for this phenomenon remains unclear. To study the role of the serum tryptase as a diagnostic parameter for individual risk evaluation and its impact on the severity of allergic reactions in elderly people. Two hundred and seventy-four consecutive patients visiting the Department of Dermatology, Tübingen, Germany, who were diagnosed with honeybee or wasp venom allergy, were included in the study. Sting reaction severity increased with increased age and tryptase levels (P = 0.001 and P = 0.0003, respectively). Furthermore, we find not only a general increment in tryptase levels in elderly people (P = 0.0001) but also a continuous increase in tryptase concentrations even below the cut-off (11.4 microg/l) with increasing age (P = 0.0026). Our data confirm serum tryptase as a risk factor for severe anaphylactic reaction to hymenoptera stings. Furthermore, we give first evidence that basal serum tryptase levels increase continuously with age and being an indicator for either increased mast cell load or reactivity this can at least partly be responsible for the observed aggravated allergic reactions in elderly people. As those patients are at increased risk for life-threatening anaphylactic reactions, it should be considered to adjust VIT especially in elderly patients with elevated tryptase levels as recommended for patients with mastocytosis by increasing venom doses during VIT and by considering its life-long continuation.
    Allergy 07/2010; 65(7):919-23. · 5.88 Impact Factor
  • T Volz, T Biedermann
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    ABSTRACT: In dermatology probiotic microorganisms have primarily been used orally for the prophylaxis and treatment of atopic disorders. In contrast to the successes achieved for gastrointestinal disorders, positive effects for atopic dermatitis only have been found in a few studies. New insights could now fundamentally change the impact of probiotics on dermatology. Probiotics are - like microflora of the skin - non-pathogenic microbes, which do not induce inflammatory responses in the skin. Common pathways for probiotics, non-pathogenic microbes, and microflora are characterized, in order to facilitate their more effective therapeutic use. These microbes display a majority of their effects directly at the site of application and thereby induce natural defense mechanisms. However, promotion of immunological tolerance is just as important in producing positive effects. Tolerance of the resident flora on surface organs developed during evolution and the mechanisms of action are multifaceted. Therefore, the topical application of probiotics and non-pathogenic microbes for prophylaxis and therapy of overwhelming cutaneous pro-inflammatory immune reactions is very promising. Results of recent clinical trials already have demonstrated the efficacy of this new therapeutic concept.
    Der Hautarzt 09/2009; 60(10):795-801. · 0.50 Impact Factor
  • British Journal of Dermatology 06/2009; · 3.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IL-4 is expressed at high levels in allergic diseases and dominates the early phases of multiple acquired immune responses. However, the precise role of IL-4 during early inflammation and its impact on the differentiation of newly recruited DC precursors remains elusive. In order to characterize the impact of IL-4 on the differentiation of human DC, we investigated the role of IL-4 on the differentiation of monocytes into DC. Human DC were differentiated from peripheral blood precursors under either low or high concentrations of IL-4. We analyzed their cytokine profile and capacity to polarize T-cell differentiation. Concentrations of 5 (low) and 50 (high) ng/mL IL-4 induced two distinct types of DC. DC differentiated under low-dose IL-4 (5 ng/mL) produced almost no IL-12p70, and primed naïve CD4+ T cells allowing IL-4 secretion and Th2 induction. In contrast, DC generated under high concentrations of IL-4 (50 ng/mL) produced large amounts of IL-12p70, low IL-10 and primed naïve CD4+ T cells to become Th1 cells. Thus, we demonstrate that the Th2 cell cytokine IL-4 decisively determines the phenotype of ongoing immune responses by orchestrating the functional phenotype of newly immigrating DC precursors.
    European Journal of Immunology 11/2008; 38(11):3138-49. · 4.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Atopic dermatitis (AD) is associated with elevated IgE levels and Th2 responses. The oral administration of nonpathogenic bacteria such as probiotics may improve the course of atopic diseases. It is believed that nonpathogenic bacteria prevent the development of allergic diseases by modulating intestinal immune responses. However, the effects of oral probiotics on AD could not be reproduced in all studies and the direct immunomodulation of the skin-associated immune response by nonpathogenic bacteria has not yet been investigated. We performed a prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study with a cream containing a 5% lysate of the nonpathogenic bacteria Vitreoscilla filiformis. Seventy-five volunteers with AD (6-70 years of age) were randomized to receive either V. filiformis cream 5% or vehicle cream daily for 30 days. Efficacy was evaluated by the SCORe of Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD), transepidermal water loss (TEWL), assessment of microflora, and the patient's assessment of itch and loss of sleep. Compared with placebo, V. filiformis lysate significantly decreased SCORAD levels (P=0.0044) and pruritus (P=0.0171). Active cream significantly decreased loss of sleep from day 0 to day 29 (P=0.0074). Qualitative and quantitative assessment of cutaneous microbial colonization revealed that V. filiformis lysate reduced Staphylococcus aureus colonization of the skin. The skin barrier as determined by TEWL also improved significantly with the cream alone. V. filiformis lysate significantly improved AD. This may be in part due to reduction of S. aureus, but seems to relate in most parts to a direct immunomodulatory effect on skin-associated immune responses.
    British Journal of Dermatology 10/2008; 159(6):1357-63. · 3.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Erosive oral lichen planus (EOLP) is a T-cell mediated inflammatory disease leading to severe pain and impairment. As current therapies are of limited efficacy, application of calcineurin inhibitors is considered to be a potential option. To investigate the efficacy of pimecrolimus cream 1% (Elidel) compared with vehicle cream in the treatment of EOLP. Twenty patients were enrolled in a prospective, double-blind, randomized, vehicle-controlled trial and assigned to either pimecrolimus or vehicle group. Study medication was applied for 30 days followed by 30 days of observation without therapy. In case of unresponsiveness, treatment was continued for 30 days with open-label pimecrolimus. EOLP was monitored on days 0, 30 and 60. Safety was assessed by patient documentation, measurement of pimecrolimus levels and blood counts. Within 30 days erosions cleared completely in seven of 10 patients treated with pimecrolimus and in two of 10 patients treated with vehicle. The clinical EOLP 'composite score' including mucosal erosions and pain sensation was significantly reduced in the pimecrolimus-treated group compared with vehicle (P = 0.025). In the three of 10 patients not responding to pimecrolimus, EOLP cleared after an additional 30 days of treatment with pimecrolimus. Following termination of the therapy, sustained remission of EOLP was detected in 83% of patients demonstrating long-lasting effects of pimecrolimus treatment. No severe adverse events were observed. In five patients pimecrolimus blood levels were detected, all of which stayed below 4 ng mL(-1). Pimecrolimus cream 1% effectively treats EOLP with long-lasting therapeutic effects and is therefore a promising therapeutic option for EOLP.
    British Journal of Dermatology 09/2008; 159(4):936-41. · 3.76 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 01/2006; 116(6):1390-2. · 12.05 Impact Factor
  • Contact Dermatitis 12/2005; 53(5):303-4. · 2.93 Impact Factor