Treating eczema may also alleviate asthma

London: Researchers have found a possible new therapy for eczema that also helps reduce the severity of asthma.

According to the researchers, children with atopic dermatitis (AD) — a type of eczema of the skin — show an increased risk of developing asthma later in life.

The researchers also mentioned that house dust mites are known culprits in the development of both atopic dermatitis and asthma, as exposure to the mites induces inflammation.

For the study, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, researchers 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,” said Julie Deckers from VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research.

“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 added.

However, the challenge was to investigate whether the relief of skin inflammation might influence the subsequent development of asthma.

The team therefore combined two anti-inflammatory compounds — corticosteroids and PPAR(alpha) agonists — into one potential treatment in mice.

The combined therapy effectively alleviated atopic dermatitis, but was insufficient at preventing allergic asthmatic response in the lungs.

“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,” the researcher noted.

The findings are an important next step in understanding the relationship between the two inflammatory diseases and to developing effective therapies.

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