Atopic dermatitis—commonly known as eczema—is an inflammatory skin disorder that affects one out of every five children and between 5 and 10% of the adult population.
Now, an international team of scientists from clinical researcher centers across the globe has conducted the largest study to date of atopic dermatitis, pooling data obtained from 377,000 subjects in 40 different projects around the world.
"We identified 10 new genetic variations, making a total of 31 that are currently known to be associated with atopic dermatitis," explained co-author Bo Jacobsson, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chief physician in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the Sahlgrenska Academy, a division of the University of Gothenburg. "Of particular interest is that each of the new ones has a role to play in regulation of the immune system."
Jacobsson added, "While the new variations contribute in only a small way to the risk of developing atopic dermatitis, knowing about them will raise our awareness about the mechanisms of the various diseases. Our ultimate hope is that additional treatment methods will emerge as a result."
The newly identified genetic regions show a strong correlation with known risk loci for asthma, allergies, and other chronic inflammatory diseases like Crohn's disease and psoriasis, as well as with autoimmune disorders.
The study also confirmed known hereditary risk factors that impair the barrier function of the skin. The large size of the study allowed for researchers to have a better, clearer understanding of how autoimmune factors play a role in eczemas development.
The findings from this study were published recently in Nature Genetics
through an article entitled "Multi-ancestry genome-wide association study of 21,000 cases and 95,000 controls identifies new risk loci for atopic dermatitis."