Eczema triggered by deficiency in skin barrier protein, shows new research


New research has suggested that a deficiency in the skin’s barrier could be the key to triggering eczema.

The findings, published in the journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), identified how a key skin barrier protein called filaggrin impacts on other proteins and pathways in the skin, and how a lack of this protein can cause the development of eczema.

Using a human model system, researchers modified the upper layer of the skin (epidermis) using molecular techniques to become filaggrin-deficient, directly mimicking the situation observed in patients with atopic eczema.

Researchers from Newcastle University worked with scientists at global dermatological pharmaceutical company Stiefel GSK on the study. The discovery has led to the scientists identifying potential targets for future drug development which could treat the underlying cause of eczema rather than treating the symptoms.

Nick Reynolds, lead investigator and Professor of Dermatology at Newcastle University, 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, from the British Association of Dermatologists, also commented on the study, saying: “This latest research 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.”

For more information on the study, click here, or read how argan oil can help those suffering with eczema