New research on skin lipids may pave the way toward personalized therapies for atopic dermatitis.
Researchers can now identify the precise lipids found in the skin of people who have atopic dermatitis, and compare them to people with healthy skin. Here’s how: A type of tape can pull some lipids off a person’s skin; allow testing of them with the use of a mass spectrometer; and have the results compared to the skin lipid profiles of generally healthy patients.
With this information, researchers may be able to determine what lipids are deficient and develop topical compounds to replace them – either individually, or with compounds that could aid groups of people who share similar lipid profiles.
“This has the potential to remove any guess work that might have existed in the past regarding the correct combination of lipids required to improve skin health,’ says Arup Indri, an associate professor in the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University, in a news release. “This may be of value not only to patients with atopic dermatitis or other skin diseases, but even for normal individuals who simply want their skin to be more healthy, well hydrated and resistant to aging.”
The findings appear in the British Journal of Dermatology. The researchers have applied for patents and are working with university officials to begin the process of licensing and commercialization.
The researchers also discovered a clear link between atopic dermatitis, altered lipid profiles and some types of bacterial infections such as staphylococcus aureus. Staph infections may both lead to atopic dermatitis problems and make people more prone to further infections – a cycle of skin inflammation that can disrupt the skin microbiome.
“These findings about altered lipid profiles and the link to bacterial infections could be a breakthrough to ultimately help many people who struggle with atopic dermatitis and related skin problems,” says Indra.
This research has been supported by the Atopic Dermatitis Research Network, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute.
Collaborators on the research are from the Oregon Health & Science University, OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute, the University of Rochester Medical Center, National Jewish Health, and Rho, Inc.