Genetic eczema discovery offers hope

4 January 2013

Scientists have discovered what they believe to be the "underlying" genetic cause of the most common type of atopic eczema, which could revolutionise the way the skin condition is treated.

The team of experts, from the Oregon State University, believe that dermatitis can arise when a protein known as Ctip2 malfunctions.

When this protein is unable to function as it should, it causes the skin to become itchy, dry and inflamed.

"In these studies, we’ve basically shown that inadequate Ctip2 is reducing the lipids in skin that it needs to stay healthy, protect itself and perform its function," commented Arup Indra, an associate professor in Oregon State University's College of Pharmacy.

"At the same time this can allow unwanted formation of proteins that trigger inflammation. The skin’s ability to resist inflammation is going down just as the amount of inflammation is going up, and the underlying reason is that Ctip2 is not doing its job."

According to the NHS, the number of people with atopic eczema has increased in recent years. Males and females are equally affected.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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