Scientists believe that a skin barrier protein called filaggrin is able to trigger eczema by impacting proteins and pathways in the skin.
The research by Newcastle University in collaboration with scientists at Stiefel, a GSK company, builds on the discovery by scientists in Dundee which showed that a lack of the protein filaggrin in the skin caused an inherited dry skin condition known as ichthyosis vulgaris. This is strongly linked to the development of atopic eczema, as well as other allergic diseases.
Nick Reynolds, professor of dermatology at Newcastle University and lead investigator of the study, said: “We have shown for the first time that loss of the filaggrin protein alone is sufficient to alter key proteins and pathways involved in triggering eczema. This research reinforces the importance of filaggrin deficiency leading to problems with the barrier function in the skin and predisposing someone to eczema.”
The findings have helped identify potential targets for future drug development which could treat the underlying cause of eczema rather than the symptoms.