Eczema, an itchy inflammation of skin, is triggered by the deficiency of a protein that acts as a skin barrier, according to scientists.
Atopic eczema is a skin condition that is very common. It is generally found in children in their first year of life and further continues in adulthood with severe itching. The itching has deep effects on well-being and may lead to disturbance in sleep.
According to the findings, Lack of protein filaggrin impacts other proteins and pathways in the skin. This leads to the development of eczema.
“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,” said Nick Reynolds, Professor Dermatology at Newcastle University in England. “This research reinforces the importance of filaggrin deficiency leading to problems with the barrier function in the skin and predisposing someone to eczema.”
For the study, a human model system was developed. The upper layer of the skin (epidermis) was modified in order to become filaggrin-deficient as is the skin of patients suffering from atopic eczema, with the help of molecular techniques.
The model helped the researchers in a way that they were able to discover proteins and signalling pathways directly down-stream of filaggrin. Most importantly they found out several key regulatory mechanisms.
These included regulators of inflammatory signalling, cell structure, barrier function and stress response. This finding provides a new way to understand the mechanisms involved. It also suggests some new goals for drug development, that can treat the underlying cause, instead of working its way on the symptoms, told the researchers