Scientists have discovered insights for a possible new therapy for eczema that also reduces the severity of asthma in children.
The findings, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, are an important next step in understanding the relationship between the two inflammatory diseases and to developing effective therapies.
Children with atopic dermatitis (AD), a type of eczema of the skin, show an increased risk of developing asthma later in life.
House dust mites are known culprits in the development of both AD and asthma, as exposure to the mites induces inflammation.
The researchers from VIB, the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology in Belgium, created a mouse model to look further into the relationship between the two diseases.
"As predicted, our test showed that house dust mite- induced skin inflammation leads to aggravated levels of allergic airway inflammation," Julie Deckers, from VIB.
"Yet, to our surprise, this response significantly differs from the reaction to direct exposure of house dust mites in the lungs without prior skin inflammation. These results have given us a deeper understanding of the complexity of the atopic march," Deckers said.
The challenge, however, was to investigate whether the relief of skin inflammation might influence the subsequent development of asthma.
The team therefore combined two anti-inflammatory compounds—orticosteroids and PPAR agonists—into one potential treatment in mice.
"The combined therapy effectively alleviated AD, but was insufficient at preventing allergic asthmatic response in the lungs," said Deckers.
"However, the treatment did significantly reduce the severity of the asthma by counteracting one aspect of the specific immune response in the lungs. In this way, the therapy represents a potent remedy against allergic skin inflammation and the aggravation of atopic march," Deckers added.
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