Genetic cause of eczema unveiled by researchers

Atopic dermatitis is a multifactorial disorder characterized by dry, thickening, and inflammation of the skin (dermatitis). The condition usually starts in early infancy, and it often disappears before adolescence. It affects 20% of children in developed countries. Scratching of the itchy skin leads to oozing and crusting of rashes and favors lichenification. And also, people with eczema are most susceptible to all kinds of microorganisms such as bacteria, virus, fungus, etc.

Scientists are trying to find the genetic cause of atopic dermatitis, which has researched for several years. Recently, they found a gene named KIF3A, which produces proteins that would cause sensory signals to the cell and transports protein complexes, nucleic acid, and organelles towards the plus ends of microtubule tracks within cells. There are two genetic variants of KIFA3, which are responsible for an impaired skin barrier that allows increased water loss from the skin, resulting in a condition called atopic dermatitis.

These variations, also called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), might change the part of the gene by the process called methylation. It does work by altering the rate of transcribing genes for protein production. People who suffered from the condition had more methylation and produced lower KIF3A protein in the skin and nasal-lining cells. This made the researchers believe that the SNP-created regulating sites will have a huge level of water loss from the skin.

To demonstrate the finding, scientists used mice which lacks KIF3A in skin cells. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases and the National Center for Advancing Translational Science funded the project. They observed the mice had more water loss due to dysregulated protein in the skin cell, which breaks the skin barrier, and thus favoring atopic dermatitis. This proves that both variations in the KIF3A gene would result in eczema.

Treatment for this condition is essential, or else it will end up in other severe complications such as asthma, allergy, rhinitis as a cascade of events. Intensive topical moisturization therapy has aimed to prevent atopic eczema. This finding may pave the way for future genetic studies to protect vulnerable children from acquiring the allergic conditions.

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Source: Medical Xpress

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