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Genetic basis for atopic dermatitis found

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Genetic basis for Atopic Dermatitis

Researchers at Oregon State University have made new discoveries about the genetic substrate of atopic dermatitis. It was found that inadequate Ctip2, a protein that has genetic functions, may trigger the disease through several mechanisms. These findings may provide new therapeutic targets for treating dermatitis.

It seems that Ctip2 is a protein that controls the synthesis of lipids in the skin and it can suppress TSLP, a cytokine produced by cells in the skin that can cause inflammation and thus dermatitis. It must be said that lipids form an important component of the skin structure and is essential in maintaining its integrity and hydration.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic Dermatitis

The fact that inadequate functioning of Ctip2 can trigger dermatitis was demonstrated in experiments on animals. TSLP is not normally identified in the skin, but the rats that had no Ctip2 in their skins (the Ctip2 production was genetically suppressed) had high levels of inflammatory TSLP. Arup Indra, associate professor in the OSU year College of Pharmacy,  mentioned that inadequate Ctip2 leads to decreased lipid synthesis and this leads in turn to the production of inflammatory proteins. He added that atopic dermatitis is associated with an immune dysfunction but that researchers have failed so far to decipher what is the mechanism underlying this connection.

So far, atopic dermatitis has been treated with moisturizers that hydrate skin or corticosteroids that reduce inflammation. It is important to say that these treatments are symptomatic, in other words they do not cure dermatitis, they only alleviate symptoms. Indra said that by understanding the genetic mechanisms underlying this disease researchers can create new personalized and  more effective  therapies for treating atopic dermatitis.

Atopic dermatitis is a dermatological condition that is manifested by skin lesions, dry, itchy and inflamed skin. Disease generally begins in the first year of life and is associated with other diseases such as asthma, rhinitis, urticaria and food allergies. This  disease may remit in adolescence but there are situations where it persists in adulthood. Skin lesions can occur anywhere on the body. Lesions first appear in skin folds, then and in the cheeks, forehead and legs. Sweating or exposure to various allergens may increase erythema (redness) and itching and therefore excessive heat or synthetic fiber clothing should be avoided.

Topical corticosteroids are the main treatment for atopic dermatitis. Cortisone-based creams are applied 2 -3 times a day until the skin lesions resolve, but side effects can occur. Other treatments such as immunomodulators, phototherapy etc., may also be used.