Where can micro-immunotherapy be used?
The skin is the largest organ of the human body. It is the point of contact between the body and the outside world and fulfills numerous important functions: it acts as a protective barrier against harmful external aggressions, is responsible for temperature regulation, transmits sense stimuli, and even possesses immunological functions influenced by the skin flora.1,2
There are different aspects that affect skin functionality, including genetics or environmental factors, among others, and that make the body more prone to illness. Furthermore, liver and intestinal disorders (such as intestinal dysbiosis) can have a negative effect on skin function.3,4
An alteration of deficiency of the immune system can lead to numerous skin disorders. These include:
- Inflammatory, autoimmune and chronic diseases (e.g. atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, scleroderma, alopecia areata, vitiligo, skin cancer, etc.)
- Infections (e.g., chickenpox, shingles, cold sores and genital, warts, papillomavirus, Lyme disease…)
- Allergies (e.g., allergic dermatitis)
- Skin aging
Therapeutic strategies applied for skin disorders should therefore not only take into account the symptoms, but also the underlying immune deficiencies and factors involved that sustain these disorders. These include, for example, stress, inflammation and infection.
Micro-immunotherapy eliminates possible sources of irritation for the immune system and restores the balance of misdirected immune processes.
- Belkaid Y, Segre JA. Dialogue between skin microbiota and immunity. Science 346: 954- 959, 2014
- Castrillon Rivera LE, Palma Ramos A y Padilla Desgarennes C. La función inmunológica de la piel. Dermatologia Rev Mex 52: 211- 24, 2008
- Dogra S, Jindal, R. Cutaneous Manifestations of Common Liver Diseases. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hepatology. 2011;1(3):177–184.
- Vaughn A et al. Skin-gut axis: The relationship between intestinal bacteria and skin health. World Journal of Dermatology. 2017; 6(4):52-58.
Nerves, hormones and the immune system speak the same language, which is based on neurotransmitters, cytokines and hormones, in such a way that they mutually influence each other. Disturbances to this complex regulatory circuit can contribute to numerous diseases.
In this context, it is well known that chronic stress is accompanied by the elevated production of inflammation mediators and a reduction in the happiness hormone serotonin, which can lead to the onset of neuropsychological diseases, such as depression.1
In addition, numerous studies have proven that immune disorders and chronic inflammation processes are associated with the neurodegenerative diseases Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.2,3
The immunological approach based on treating neurological and psychological diseases, as adopted by micro-immunotherapy, is therefore gaining significance. The aim of the low-dose immunotherapy promoted by this treatment is mainly to curb excessive inflammation responses, as well as to balance improper functioning of the immune system, in order to limit or slow down the course of the disease.
- Kannarkat GT, Boss JM, Tansey MG. The role of innate and adaptive immunity in Parkinson’s disease. J Parkinsons Dis. 2013;3(4):493-514.
- Boutajangout A, Wisniewski T. The Innate Immune System in Alzheimer’s Disease. International Journal of Cell Biology. 2013;2013:576383.
- Aye Mu Mint, Brian E Leonard, Harry WM Steinbusch, Yong Ku Kim. Th1, Th2 and Th3 cytokine alterations in major depression. J Affect Disord. 2005; 88(2):167-73.
When aging, a whole series of cellular and molecular changes occur, which influence the functioning of the immune response; this can lead to the alteration of its quality and/or a higher risk of suffering from different disorders, infections or diseases, such as cancer. At the same time, the aging of the immune system (i.e. immunosenescence) is related to a chronic inflammatory condition (known as inflammaging), which is considered a risk factor for numerous illnesses including type II diabetes and Alzheimer’s.1,2
Furthermore, other factors can affect the defence functions and even accelerate the aging process of the immune system. These include stress, dysbiosis, chronic infections (e.g., by the cytomegalovirus), nutrient deficiencies, lack of exercise or social isolation.
Micro-immunotherapy is a therapeutic approach that aims to suitably restore the immune system and thereby have a positive effect on physical and psychological well-being. It is well tolerated and can be integrated into treatment plans for the following illnesses:
- Joint disorders (e.g., arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis)
- Neuropsychological disorders (e.g., stress, depression)
- Neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s)
- Autoimmune diseases
- Relapsing infections
- Cancer (as a complementary treatment)
- Baylis D, Bartlett DB, Patel HP, Roberts HC. Understanding how we age: insights into inflammaging. Longevity & Healthspan. 2013;2:8. d
- Fulop T, Larbi A, Dupuis G, et al. Immunosenescence and Inflamm-Aging As Two Sides of the Same Coin: Friends or Foes? Frontiers in Immunology. 2017;8:1960.
Our organism is constantly exposed to numerous viruses, bacteria and parasites. These infections usually pass without being noticed, as the immune system defends us against these microorganisms before they can harm us. If, however, the defence mechanisms are damaged through internal or external factors, various diseases can occur:
- Viral infections (e.g., mononucleosis, oral (labialis) and genital (genitalis) herpes, shingles (herpes zoster), chickenpox, genital warts through papillomavirus, hepatitis)
- Bacterial infections (e.g., chlamydia, Lyme disease)
- Parasitic infections (e.g., toxoplasmosis)
Some of these microorganisms, such as the herpes viruses (e.g., the cytomegalovirus or Epstein-Barr virus infection), also possess the ability to remain in the body and reappear at a later stage, so that numerous diseases present or can become chronic1. These include chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, Hashimoto thyroiditis and multiple sclerosis, to name but a few.2-5
Micro-immunotherapy aims to strengthen the body’s natural defenses against infection and to inhibit the propagation of disease pathogens.
- Fujinami RS et al. Molecular mimicry, bystander activation, or viral persistence: infections and autoimmune disease. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 2006;19(1):80–94.
- Ascherio A, Munger KL. Epstein-barr virus infection and multiple sclerosis: a review. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2010;5(3):271-277.
- Pender MP. CD8+ T-cell deficiency, Epstein-Barr virus infection, vitamin D deficiency and steps to autoimmunity: a unifying hypothesis. Autoimmune Dis 2012: 189096
- Coskun O, Sener K, Kilik S y col. Stress related Epstein Barr virus reactivation. Clin Exp Med 2010, 10: 15-20.
- Janegova, A., Janega, P., Rychly B., Kuracinova, K. Babal, P. The role of Epstein-Barr virus infection in the development of autoimmune thyroid diseases. Endokrynol Pol 2015; 66 (2): 132–136.
Cancer is an umbrella term used to describe various diseases that share common characteristics, such as the uncontrolled growth of cells that have mutated many times and could not be repaired or eliminated, due to defective control processes. These cells are thus able to enter healthy tissue and spread via blood vessels or the lymphatic system, in order to form secondary growths (metastases). Tumours can manipulate immune cells within their micro-environment to their own advantage and thus ensure conditions favouring tumour growth.3,4
Chronic and/or latent inflammation responses can also contribute to the occurrence and progression of tumours1-3. In this way, chronic inflammations accompanying particular chronic infections, autoimmune diseases and/or due to toxic substances can increase the risk of cancer occurring.
For oncological processes, complementary treatment with micro-immunotherapy aims to activate anti-tumorous immune defences and counteract mechanisms related to tumour progression.
- Colotta F et al. Cancer-related inflammation, the seventh hallmark of cancer: links to genetic instability. Carcinogenesis. 2009 Jul;30(7):1073-81.
- Wang M, Zhao J, Zhang L, et al. Role of tumor microenvironment in tumorigenesis. J Cancer. 2017;8(5):761-773. Published 2017 Feb 25. doi:10.7150/jca.17648
- Sica. A. Role of tumour-associated macrophages in cancer-related inflammation. Exp Oncol. 2010 Sep;32(3):153-8.
- Balkwill F, Charles KA,Mantovani A. Smoldering and polarized inflammation in the initiation and promotion of malignant disease.Cancer Cell. 2005 Mar;7(3):211-7.
Bone and joint disorders affect millions of people worldwide and occur increasingly more frequently as the population ages. These conditions include osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, Bekhterev’s syndrome, Sjögren’s syndrome, psoriasis arthritis, as well as systemic lupus erythematosus.
These diseases are often multifactorial; not only degenerative processes, but also infectious and autoimmune factors such as trauma, play important roles as causal and risk factors. Most of these conditions follow a chronic course and cause different symptoms, ranging from joint pain, reduced mobility and bone weakness, through to invalidity.
Inflammation and immunological imbalances are closely related to the onset and progression of bone and joint disorders1-3. In this context, micro-immunotherapy aims to limit the inflammation processes responsible for joint damage, to decelerate bone degeneration, as well as to counteract the tendency for it to become chronic.
- Hardy, R., Cooper, M.S. Bone loss with inflammation. Journal of Endocrinology 2009. 201, 309–320.
- Bultink IE, Vis M, van der Horst-Bruinsma IE, Lems WF. Inflammatory rheumatic disorders and bone. Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2012;14(3):224-230.
- Sokolove J, Lepus CM. Role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis: latest findings and interpretations. Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis. 2013;5(2):77-94.
It is well known that, depending on the type, intensity and frequency, physical activity can have both positive and negative effects on the immune system1. This is due to the effort that exercise entails for the body; at a biochemical level, this can be translated into stress, triggering adaptive responses at both physical and psychological levels.
“Stress” itself is not always harmful for the body. Specifically, regular and moderate physical activity has an anti-inflammatory effect that is, among other things, essential for the prevention of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. However, excessive physical exertion, for example if performance targets are set too high, can give rise to an immunodeficient state in the body and increase the susceptibility to different medical conditions (e.g., recurrent infections). This is also common among high-performance athletes, especially when other risk factors, such as malnutrition or sleep disorders, are present2,3,4.
It should also be emphasized that stress and overexertion can unbalance the psychoneuroimmunoendocrine axis and weaken the immune system.
Due to its action at the immune level, micro-immunotherapy can be a useful tool to support the immune system, when used as part of a tailored treatment plan that also takes into account nutritional aspects, including a balanced diet and a good rest. After all, the immune response is involved in several processes, such as:
- Stress-related disorders
- Recurring infections
- Joint disorders
- Gleeson, M. (2007). Immune function in sport and exercise. Journal of applied physiology, 103(2), 693-699.
- Baum, M., & Liesen, H. (1998). Sport und Immunsystem. Deutsches Ärzteblatt-Ärztliche Mitteilungen-Ausgabe A, 95(10), 538-540.
- Hoc, S. (2000). Immunstimulation: Dem Infektionsrisiko bei Sportlern vorbeugen. Deutsches Ärzteblatt, 97(33): A-2182 / B-1770 / C-1626.
- Holger, G. (2006). Auswirkungen von Sport auf das Immunsystem. Notfall & Hausarztmedizin, 32(8), 411-415.
Periodontitis is an inflammatory disease of the periodontium (supporting apparatus) of teeth that leads to gum loss and degeneration of the jaw bone. It is one of the most common infectious diseases of the oral cavity and its main symptoms are bad breath, bleeding and swollen gums. In an integrated approach to dentistry, periodontitis is not regarded as an isolated disease, but rather as a symptom of a general regulatory disorder of the body as a whole. Its occurrence is closely related to an imbalance of immune defences and can point towards intestinal disease2.
In this area, micro-immunotherapy can be applied to reduce inflammation, as well as to restore the balance between bone resorption and growth.
- Cekici A, Kantarci A, Hasturk H, Van Dyke TE. Inflammatory and immune pathways in the pathogenesis of periodontal disease. Periodontol 2000. 2014; 64(1):57-80.
- Lira-Junior R, Figueredo CM. Periodontal and inflammatory bowel diseases: Is there evidence of complex pathogenic interactions?. World J Gastroenterol. 2016;22(35):7963-72.
A child’s immune system is not yet fully mature during their first years of life. While newborns have a certain amount of protection against infection in their first few months thanks to antibodies passed on from their mother, their immune system subsequently has to learn how to defend itself against harmful intruders. Thus, every infection represents a form of training for the defence units, so immunity can be built up little by little.1,2
The anatomical, physical and biochemical immaturity of children’s immune system makes them more prone to infection. Early childhood, particularly during the winter months, is thus accompanied by frequent infections of the air passages (e.g., multiple episodes of bronchitis, ear infections, inflammations of the nose and throat). In addition, viral diseases, such as chickenpox, are some of the most frequent childhood illnesses.
Nutritional deficiencies, environmental pollution and lack of sleep can further burden a child’s immune system and facilitate the onset of illnesses such as allergies (e.g., asthma, sniffing) and skin diseases (e.g., warts, eczema).
Micro-immunotherapy can be applied in pediatric medicine to provide gentle support to a child’s immature immune system when dealing with infections, thereby minimising the risk of reoccurrence. It can also have an immunoregulatory effect on illnesses related to an underlying misdirected immune response. Through the use of low and ultra-low doses of immune transmitters (e.g., cytokines), it is also well tolerated by the organism of very young children, and can be combined synergistically with other therapies.
- Levy O. Innate immunity of the newborn : basic mechanisms and clinical correlates. Nat Rev Immunol 2007 7(5): 379-390
- Ygberg, S. and Nilsson, A. (2012), The developing immune system – from foetus to toddler. Acta Paediatrica, 101: 120-127.
- Lewis DB, Wilson CB. Developmental immunology and role of host defenses in fetal and neonatal susceptibility to infection. In: Remington JS, Klein OJ, Wilson CB, Baker CJ. Infectious diseases of the fetus and the newborn infant. 6è éd. Philadelphia: Saunders/Elsevier. 2005, p. 87-210.
The vaginal flora and the immune system form an important protective shield against harmful microorganisms in a woman’s genital tract. If these defence mechanisms are not functioning properly, various complaints can arise, including infections of the vagina and bladder. This also significantly increases the risk of contracting sexually-transmitted diseases, such as herpes genitalis (caused by herpes simplex viruses), condyloma (genital warts, caused by human papillomaviruses) and chlamydiosis (caused by Chlamydia).1
Similarly, other illnesses, such as cancer (e.g., breast or cervical cancer) and autoimmune diseases (e.g., Hashimoto thyroiditis and endometriosis) are also more frequent if the immune system is out of balance.2
Additionally, day-to-day life of a woman in today’s world is anything but calm! A hectic lifestyle, professional and familial responsibilities, as well as stress and overexertion, can unbalance the interplay between the nervous, hormonal and immune systems, making the onset of recurrent oral herpes, fatigue, depression, allergies and inflammatory diseases more likely.3
Micro-immunotherapy is an immunoregulatory treatment approach that can make a significant contribution towards recovery and quality of life for various conditions that frequently affect women. Micro-immunotherapy offers the immune system a kind of boost and works its effects in both a sequential and optimised manner, since it imitates the natural response cascade of this complex network. The aim is to achieve a suitable response from the organism to internal and external agents.
- Krishna SBN et al. The vaginal microbiota in women health and disease: current understanding and future perspectives – a review. Current Trends in Biotechnology and Pharmacy. 2016;11(2):190-205.
- Dittfeld A, Gwizdek K, Michalski M, Wojnicz R. A possible link between the Epstein-Barr virus infection and autoimmune thyroid disorders. Cent Eur J Immunol. 2016;41(3):297-301.
- Vissoci Reiche, E.M., Odebrecht Vargas Nunes, S., Kaminami Morimoto, H. Stress, depression, the immune system, and cancer. The Lancet Oncology. 2004 ; 5(10):617-625.
An allergy is an excessive immunological reaction to generally harmless environmental substances, termed “allergens” (e.g., pollen, fur and specific food substances). The immune system regards these as harmful and initiates an inflammatory reaction that involves different immune cells and transmitters. Diseases with an allergic origin include hay fever, allergic dermatitis, conjunctivitis and food allergies, among others3.
By applying low doses of cytokines and other immune transmitters, micro-immunotherapy aims to suppress allergic reactions. It is therefore not only targeted at treating annoying symptoms arising from allergic reactions, such as sneezing, coughing, itching, sore eyes and skin reactions, but actually focuses on combatting their underlying causes, by regulating the misdirected immune response.
Micro-immunotherapy has proven to be of invaluable help in supporting therapeutic strategies for the treatment of allergies, and can be applied in an acute phase, as well as preventatively.
- Amin, K. The role of mast cells in allergic inflammation. Respiratory Medicine. 2012 ; 106, 9e14
- Bachert, C. The role of histamine in allergic disease: re-appraisal of itsinflammatory potential. Allergy 2002 ; 57: 287–296.
- Ellenbogen Y., Jiménez-Saiz, R., Spill, P., Chu, D.K., Waserman, S. Jordana, M. The Initiation of Th2 Immunity Towards Food Allergens. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2018; 19, 1447.
The importance of the intestines for our health goes far beyond their digestive function. As a point of surface with the outer world, they are continuously exposed to external factors, such as components of food, bacteria, viruses, and parasites, lending the gut an important function as a defence organ.
This protective system is made up of three components:
- Microbiota: This refers to the whole collection of physiological microorganisms present in the intestines. In addition to suppressing undesired germs, the intestinal flora is, among other things, involved in the maturation of the immune system and has a positive effect on immune tolerance.1
- Intestinal mucosa: This forms a physical barrier to the external world and has the dual role of, on the one hand, allowing nutrients and fluids to pass out through the intestine walls to the blood circulatory system and, on the other hand, protecting against the invasion of undesired germs.2
- Immune system of the gastrointestinal tract: 80% of immune cells can be found in the intestinal mucosa. The purpose of the immune system in the gastrointestinal tract is to efficiently combat disease pathogens found in the intestines, while tolerating normal intestinal flora and food constituents.2
Disorders of intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome) and intestinal flora (dysbiosis) are closely associated with the occurrence of numerous diseases, including inflammatory intestinal diseases, such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, but also chronic systemic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.2 Behavioural and other neuropsychological disorders, including stress, depression and autism, have also been associated with disorders of normal intestinal function.3,4
For intestinal diseases, micro-immunotherapy aims to modulate the inflammatory response and restore the immune tolerance of the intestines. In the context of psychoneuroimmunology, it can also make a significant contribution towards the regulation of the stress axis that can also influence the gastrointestinal system.5
- Petersen, C. & Round, J. L. Defining dysbiosis and its influence on host immunity and disease. Cell. Microbiol. 16, 1024–1033 (2014).
- Richards, J. L., Yap, Y. A., McLeod, K. H., Mackay, C. R. & Mariño, E. Dietary metabolites and the gut microbiota: an alternative approach to control inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Clin. Transl. Immunol. 5, e82 (2016).
- Mangiola, F. et al. Gut microbiota in autism and mood disorders. World J. Gastroenterol. 22, 361–8 (2016).
- Dinan, T. G. & Cryan, J. F. Melancholic microbes: a link between gut microbiota and depression? Neurogastroenterol. Motil. 25, 713–719 (2013)