“Inside the skin: Understanding host responses in scabies”

Dr Kate Mounsey, University of the Sunshine Coast presenting in the QTHA Seminar Series on
Wednesday 24 July 2013, 11 am at James Cook University, Cairns A21.001 Videolinked to JCU Townsville Bldg 4 Behavioural Sciences Rm 225 (contact email/Lisa.Jones1)(jcu.edu.au to arrange links to other venues)
All welcome! 

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Crusted scabies is a poorly understood manifestation of scabies, characterised bya proliferation of mites and the development of hyperkeratotic skin crusts. Scabiesimmunology research has been impeded by sporadic access to patients and the inabilityto undertake longitudinal study of infection in humans. We have responded to this bydeveloping a tractable porcine model of human scabies. Pigs are a natural host of scabies,and show similar clinical and immunological changes to humans, including susceptibilityto hyperinfection that resembles human crusted scabies.We have now undertaken several experimental trials to examine the development ofscabies immunopathology in pigs. Work to date has focused on characterisation of cellularinfiltrates and levels of key Th1, Th2 and Th17 cytokines in the skin. Preliminary datasuggests that elevation of Th2 cytokines, IL-17 secreting γδ -T cells, and T-reg cells areassociated with crusted scabies.Development of an informative animal model to explore the skin pathogenesis of scabiesin detail is essential for the future design of immunotherapeutics for this disease. This maylead to strategies to protect vulnerable subjects from contracting crusted scabies, and willultimately result in improved skin health for disadvantaged communities.Dr Kate Mounsey completed her PhD in 2007 at the Menzies School of Health Research inDarwin. Her PhD and early post-doctoral research focused on elucidating the molecularbasis of emerging drug resistance in scabies. Moving to the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in 2008, she received an NHMRC Training Fellowship in Aboriginaland Torres Strait Islander Research. In 2012 Dr Mounsey was awarded an ARC DECRAfellowship, and commenced at the University of the Sunshine Coast, with a research focusof immunopathology and host parasite interactions in scabies. 

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