An international collaboration between scientists at Dundee University and research groups in Ireland and Japan has discovered a genetic defect in mice that leads to allergic inflammation, comparable to that seen in human eczema and related allergic diseases.
The work confirms the role of the filaggrin gene in building up the barrier layers of the skin and demonstrates how mutations in this gene lead to conditions such as eczema. Filaggrin's function is to help generate the impermeable skin barrier layers present at the skin’s outermost surface.
The researchers say the work will make it possible to identify key substances in the environment that cause allergic disease.
In this study the collaborative research team has identified a genetic mutation mechanism in mice identical to one already identified in children with eczema. These filaggrin-deficient mice show many of the hallmarks of human eczema and allergy.
The researchers say that these mice represent a key to unlock new and improved therapies for eczema, asthma and allergies by targeting or supplementing the defective filaggrin gene.