A new study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) has suggested that the cause of eczema is due to a protein deficiency.
Researchers indicated through a human model system, in which the epidermis was modified using molecular techniques to become filaggrin-deficient, that a lack of this protein can cause development of the itchy inflammatory skin condition through affecting other proteins and pathways in the skin.
The findings came from researchers from Newcastle University, in collaboration with scientists at global dermatological pharmaceutical company Stiefel GSK.
Lead investigator and Professor of Dermatology at Newcastle University, Nick Reynolds 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.”
Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists said of the study, “This latest research from Newcastle is crucial as it expands on our knowledge of how filaggrin impacts on other proteins and pathways in the skin, which in turn trigger the disease. This type of research allows scientists to develop treatments that target the actual root cause of the disease, rather than just managing its symptoms. Given the level of suffering eczema causes, this is a pivotal piece of research.”