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J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2016 Mar;14(3):233-52; quiz 253. doi: 10.1111/ddg.12957.

Stressed skin?--a molecular psychosomatic update on stress-causes and effects in dermatologic diseases.

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Psychoneuroimmunology Laboratory, Department of Psychosomatics Medicine and Psychotherapy, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany.
Charité Center 12 (CC12) for Internal Medicine and Dermatology, Universitätsmedizin - Charité, Berlin, Germany.


A pathogenetically relevant link between stress, in terms of psychosocial stress, and disease was first described in the 1970s, when it was proven that viral diseases of mucous membranes (such as rhinovirus and Coxsackie virus infections) develop faster and more severe after stress exposure. Since then, there has been an annual increase in the number of publications which investigate this relationship and break it down to the molecular level. Nevertheless, the evidences for the impact of psychosocial stress on chronic inflammatory skin diseases and skin tumors are hardly known. In the present review, we outline current insights into epidemiology, psychoneuroimmunology, and molecular psychosomatics which demonstrate the manifold disease-relevant interactions between the endocrine, nervous, and immune systems. The focus is on stress-induced shifts in immune balance in exemplary disorders such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and malignant melanoma. The objective of this article is to convey basic psychosomatic knowledge with respect to etiology, symptomatology, and therapeutic options for chronic skin diseases. Particular attention is directed towards the underlying molecular relationships, both from a somatic to mental as well as a mental to somatic perspective.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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