Researchers looked at the genomes of participants and identified small changes—or variants—in the genes commonly found in people with eczema utilizing the technique, 'genome-wide association analysis.'
A group of international researchers led by Lavinia Paternoster, Ph.D., from the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol, UK, obtained combined data on 377,000 participants involved in 40 research studies across the world for the largest genetic study of eczema.
The researchers found 10 new variants, all playing a role in regulating immune systems and highlighting potential new targets for therapeutic research for eczema. With the newly genetic variants discovered, the total number of variants known to be related to eczema is 31.
The study also showed evidence of genetic overlap between eczema and other diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, which suggests studying these diseases together could potentially identify new treatments in the future.
“Eczema runs in families so we know that genetic factors are an important part of the cause,” said Sara Brown, M.D., academic dermatologist, contributor to the research from the University of Dundee. “The very large numbers of participants in this research has allowed us to 'fine-tune' our understanding of eczema genetic risk, providing more detail on how the skin immune system can go wrong in eczema.”