• Dutz, Jan Peter


    Investigator, BC Children's Hospital
    Professor and Head, Department of Dermatology and Skin Science, University of British Columbia
    Affiliate Member, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia

    Degrees / Designations
    Primary Area of Research
    Childhood Diseases
    Secondary Area(s) of Research
    604-873-9919 (office); 604-875-3597 (lab)
    Lab Phone
    Dr. Mehran Goreeishi and Dr. Yiqun Zhang
    Assistant Phone
    Mailing Address

    BC Children's Hospital Research Institute
    Room A4-144
    950 West 28th Avenue
    Vancouver, BC V5Z 4H4

    Affiliate Websites
    Research Areas
    • The skin immune system and how immune cells called T cells are activated in the skin
    • The process of T cell activation, or priming, in autoimmune disease

    Vaccination is one of the most efficient and cost-effective methods of promoting health. Immunization as a possible treatment for cancer is a recent concept. One of the limitations of current vaccine protocols is inefficient priming for cytotoxic T lymphocytes, which are important in the control of viral infections and tumours. Skin dendritic cells are potent antigen presenters to the immune system. However, the skin historically has been regarded as a barrier and has not been intensively studied as an organ of immunization.

    Our laboratory is engaged in studies to optimize the use of the skin as an organ to alter systemic immune responses. In separate projects, we are studying the priming or activation of T cells involved in models of systemic lupus erythematosus and juvenile onset diabetes mellitus.

    Current Projects

    Epicutaneous modulation of T cell function
    Recent evidence suggests that proteins or peptides can be applied on intact skin to vaccinate and produce both an antibody and a T cell response. Epicutaneous immunization (that is, on intact skin) offers potential for the development of tumour and virus-specific vaccines. In addition, it may be more cost effective as well as easier to administer than current methods of immunization. We are studying the epicutaneous application of peptides and proteins and methods to enhance their delivery and immunogenicity. In addition to being an ideal organ for the initiation of immune responses, the skin can suppress immune responses. It is particularly effective in this regard after exposure to ultraviolet light. Consequently, we are also studying how the skin may be used to induce tolerance and thereby possibly treat autoimmune disease.

    SLE, UV light and T cell priming in the skin
    Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder that can have devastating consequences. Lupus often begins in the skin and can worsen with exposure to sunlight. Recent experimental data in mouse models suggests that the skin may be the organ where T cells are first activated in lupus. Recent data also suggest that cytotoxic T cells may be involved in the initiation of lupus autoimmunity. A better understanding of how the skin may initiate immune responses will shed light on the role of the skin in initiating and/or perpetuating disease activity in systemic lupus erythematosus.

    Treating diabetes by modulating cross presentation
    Type 1 diabetes mellitus is an autoimmune disease in which insulin-producing cells (termed beta cells) in the pancreas are destroyed. We have determined that beta cell death in the pancreas allows beta cell antigens to be processed by specialized antigen presenting cells called dendritic cells. These dendritic cells can then activate diabetes-inducing cytotoxic T cells through a process termed cross-presentation. We are currently determining which additional factors are required for the detrimental cross-presentation of self-antigen and how this may be inhibited.

    Selected Publications

    Vera-Kellet C, Peters L, Elwood K, Dutz JP.: Usefulness of Interferon-{gamma} Release Assays in the Diagnosis of Erythema Induratum. Arch Dermatol. 2011 Aug;147(8):949-52. PMID: 21844454

    Han C, Sreenivasan G, Dutz JP.: Reversible retiform purpura: a sign of cocaine use. Arch Dermatol. 2011 Aug;147(8):949-52. PMID: 21402686

    Lee AS, Gibson DL, Zhang Y, Sham HP, Vallance BA, Dutz JP, Gut barrier disruption by an enteric bacterial pathogen accelerates insulitis in NOD mice. Diabetologia. 2010 Apr;53(4):741-8. PMID: 20012858

    Ghoreishi M, Martinka M, Dutz JP: Type 1 interferon signature in the scalp lesions of alopecia areata, Br J Dermatol. 2010 Jul;163(1):57-62. PMID: 20346028

    Zhang Y, Lee AS, Shameli A, Geng X, Finegood D, Santamaria P, Dutz JP: TLR9 Blockade Inhibits Activation of Diabetogenic CD8+ T Cells and Delays Autoimmune Diabetes. J Immunol. 2010 May 15;184(10):5645-53. PMID: 20393135

    Broady R, Yu J, Chow V, Tantiworiwat A, Kang C, Berg K, Martinka M, Ghoreishi M, Dutz JP, Levings MK: Cutaneous GVHD is associated with the expansion of tissue localised Th1 and not Th17 cells. Blood. 2010 Dec 16;116(25):5748-51. Epub 2010 Sep 23. PMID: 20864580

    Lee AS, Ghoreishi, M, Cheng, W-K, Chang, TY, Zhang, Y, Dutz, JP: Toll-like Receptor 7 Stimulation Promotes Autoimmune Diabetes in the Non-Obese Diabetic Mouse. Diabetologia, 2011 Jun;54(6):1407-16. Epub 2011 Feb 22. PMID: 21340621

    de Gannes GC, Ghoreishi M, Pope J; Russell A; Bell D; Adams S; Shojania K; Martinka M, DUTZ JP: Psoriasis Triggered by Tumor Necrosis Factor-α Inhibitors in Patients with Rheumatologic Conditions. Arch Dermatol. 2007 Feb;143(2):223-31. PMID: 17310002

    Najar HN and DUTZ, JP: Topical TLR9 agonists induce more efficient cross-presentation of injected protein antigen than parenteral TLR9 agonists do. Eur J Immunol. 2007 Aug;37(8):2242-56. PMID: 17634951

    Najar HN and DUTZ, JP: Topical CpG enhances the response of murine malignant melanoma to dacarbazine. J Invest Dermatol, 2008 Sep;128(9):2204-10. Epub 2008 Mar 27. PMID: 18368132

    Ghoreishi M, Bach P, Obst J, Komba M, Fleet JC, DUTZ JP: Expansion of antigen-specific regulatory T cells with the topical vitamin D analogue calcipotriol. J Immunol. 2009 May 15;182(10):6071-8. PMID: 19414758

    Chang BA, Cross JM, Najar HM, DUTZ JP: Topical resiquimod promotes priming of CTL to parenteral antigens. Vaccine. 2009 Sep 25;27(42):5791-9. Epub 2009 Aug 4. PMID: 19660592


    CIHR Operating Grant – Project: “Using the skin to control inflammation” (2013-2017)

    Honours & Awards

    Martin M Hoffman Award for Excellence in Research, University of British Columbia Department of Medicine - 2001
    Junior Scholar, Arthritis Society of Canada - 2000

    Research Group Members
    • Roopjeet Kahlon - Graduate Student
    • Mehran Ghoreishi, MD, PhD - Research Assistant/Technician
    • YiQun Zhang, MD, PhD - Research Assistant/Technician
    • Hossain Najar, PhD - Research Associate