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When our protective armor shows weakness
Date:8/1/2008

pic dermatitis. "In general, our results show that mutations in the filaggrin gene are extremely strong risk factors for atopic dermatitis and beyond that for hay fever. In the case of pre-existing eczema they may also cause asthma," explained Weidinger The asthma results were especially surprising, because filaggrin is not present in the respiratory tract, but appears to be of importance in the skin only."A weakened skin barrier function might enable allergens to penetrate more easily and thereby promote the development of allergies."

In addition, in another recent study on 1600 adults from the KORA cohort (Co-operative Health Research in the Augsburg Region), which represents the German population as a whole, Weidinger and Illig found out that a deficiency of filaggrin protein due to genetic variants also increases the risk for allergic contact eczema, especially of allergic reactions to nickel, which is often found in costume jewelry.

The current results show that the skin plays a crucial role in the development of different allergic diseases. "We are now interested in finding out the precise consequences of filaggrin mutations," declared Illig. "The next thing to do is to examine the metabolic pathway of this important protein. In addition, we want to clarify which molecular mechanisms play a role at the genetic level, but also concerning the protein itself. Then, the final aim, of course, is to find a therapy for patients with atopic diseases," added Illig. "If a lack of filaggrin is such an important factor in allergic diseases, it would be almost conceivable to increase production of this protein or to replace its function in other ways".


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Contact: Thomas Illig
illig@helmholtz-muenchen.de
0049-893-187-4249
Helmholtz Zentrum Mnchen - German Research Center for Environmental Health
Source:Eurekalert

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