Protein Glitch


Atopic dermatitis, a common type of eczema characterised by dry, itchy and inflamed skin lesions, could be due to a genetic fault. It might occur when genes that produce a protein, Ctip2, do not function properly.

Inadequate production of this protein reduces the amount of lipids that keep skin hydrated and triggers the formation of TSLP, another protein that causes inflammation, but is ordinarily undetectable in human skin.

Animals whose Ctip2 production was blocked were found to have 1,000 times more TSLP than those with normal Ctip2 levels. This shows deficiency of this protein triggers eczema and tackling this could lead to new treatments for the skin condition.



Down To Earth, January 2013