Scientists discover how treating eczema could also alleviate asthma

January 19, 2018

Scientists from VIB-UGent have discovered insights for a possible new therapy for eczema that also reduces the severity of asthma. The findings are an important next step in understanding the relationship between the two inflammatory diseases and to developing effective therapies. The results of the study are published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

Children with atopic dermatitis (AD), a type of eczema of the skin, show an increased risk of developing asthma later in life. This phenomenon, also known as atopic march, raises questions on whether therapies can be developed that not only tackle AD, but also prevent the onset of other allergic diseases. Intrigued by this possibility, a team of VIB scientists took to the lab.

Marching from the skin to the lungs House dust mites are known culprits in the development of both AD and asthma, as exposure to the mites induces inflammation. Dr. Julie Deckers, Prof. Karolien De Bosscher and Prof. Hamida Hammad (all VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research) created a mouse model to look further into the relationship between the two diseases.

Dr. Julie Deckers (VIB-UGent): "As predicted, our test showed that house dust mite-induced skin inflammation leads to aggravated levels of allergic airway inflammation. 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."

One therapy to rule them all

The real 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 - corticosteroids and PPAR? agonists - into one potential treatment in mice.

Dr. Julie Deckers (VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research): "The combined therapy effectively alleviated AD, but was insufficient at preventing allergic asthmatic response in the lungs. 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."

The team is now looking for industrial partners to develop clinical trials for the therapy, making the leap from mouse to man. At the same time, they plan to further investigate the exact mechanisms driving the progression from AD to asthma in order to develop alternative therapies that can halt the atopic march.
-end-
Funding

Fund for Scientific Research (FWO)

Publication

Co-activation of GR and PPARγ in murine skin prevents worsening of atopic march, Deckers et al., Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2017

Questions from patients

A breakthrough in research is not the same as a breakthrough in medicine. The realizations of VIB researchers can form the basis of new therapies, but the development path still takes years. This can raise a lot of questions. That is why we ask you to please refer questions in your report or article to the email address that VIB makes available for this purpose: patienteninfo@vib.be. Everyone can submit questions concerning this and other medically-oriented research directly to VIB via this address.

VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)

Related Asthma Articles from Brightsurf:

Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma
In an Acta Paediatrica study, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months was linked with a lower risk of respiratory allergies and asthma when children reached 6 years of age.

Researchers make asthma breakthrough
Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have made a breakthrough that may eventually lead to improved therapeutic options for people living with asthma.

Physics vs. asthma
A research team from the MIPT Center for Molecular Mechanisms of Aging and Age-Related Diseases has collaborated with colleagues from the U.S., Canada, France, and Germany to determine the spatial structure of the CysLT1 receptor.

New knowledge on the development of asthma
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have studied which genes are expressed in overactive immune cells in mice with asthma-like inflammation of the airways.

Eating fish may help prevent asthma
A scientist from James Cook University in Australia says an innovative study has revealed new evidence that eating fish can help prevent asthma.

Academic performance of urban children with asthma worse than peers without asthma
A new study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows urban children with poorly controlled asthma, particularly those who are ethnic minorities, also suffer academically.

Asthma Controller Step Down Yardstick -- treatment guidance for when asthma improves
The focus for asthma treatment is often stepping up treatment, but clinicians need to know how to step down therapy when symptoms improve.

Asthma management tools improve asthma control and reduce hospital visits
A set of comprehensive asthma management tools helps decrease asthma-related visits to the emergency department, urgent care or hospital and improves patients' asthma control.

Asthma linked to infertility but not among women taking regular asthma preventers
Women with asthma who only use short-acting asthma relievers take longer to become pregnant than other women, according to research published in the European Respiratory Journal.

What are the best ways to diagnose and manage asthma?
A team of experts from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston examined the current information available from many different sources on diagnosing and managing mild to moderate asthma in adults and summarized them.

Read More: Asthma News and Asthma Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.