New research seems to indicate that children with skin damaged by eczema will develop asthma.
A team from St Louis, led by Raphael Kopan, has made the discovery after studying mice.
The findings show that the skin secretes thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) which then causes the immune system to react in response. It is the body’s way of defending itself from attack.
The scientific term for the way that eczema goes on to become asthma is known as the atopic march. Kopan explains that for decades, clinicians have failed to understand the process and that this is a very important new piece of information.
The professor at Washington University’s department of developmental biology and dermatology believes it is a real breakthrough. Kopan said that finding out about the mice with conditions similar to eczema and the fact that they showed similar responses to the allergens that they inhaled was very interesting. TSLP is the key to all this she added.
It is believed that up to seventy percent of American children that suffer severely from eczema, or atopic dermatitis as it is also referred to, will go on to become asthmatic.
This is startlingly high compared to only nine percent of the population in general. The figures for young eczema sufferers, is about seventeen percent but not all of these are particularly serious.
Breaking the connection between asthma and eczema has been the challenge and we are excited that the work done on mice means that the focus is on stopping skin that is defective making TSLP.