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Study Targets Eczema Susceptibility at Its Source

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Eczema-causing protein researched

The root of eczema lies in the protein filaggrin, according to new research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Skin’s barrier function is impaired when lacking the protein, making sufferers more susceptible to the condition.

The researchers, out of Stiefel and the U.K.’s Newcastle University, hope that their findings lead to the development of drugs to treat the causes of eczema, rather than the symptoms.

The Real Thing

Researchers used molecular tools to deprive a 3-D model of human skin of filaggrin in order to study an epidermis deficient in the protein. The model also displayed how the absence affected the signaling proteins in the skin, mimicking the effects of eczema. It also showed:

  • Upregulation of the gene KLK7 (one of the molecular side-effects of filaggrin deficiency)
  • Signaling mechanisms that regulate inflammation
  • Cell structure
  • Skin barrier function
  • Stress response


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