Biomarkers May Predict AD Development

February 23, 2023

IL-13 and TSLP skin biomarkers may predict the development of atopic dermatitis months before the onset of illness

An immune and lipid profile on the surface of the skin of infants may predict the development of atopic dermatitis months before the onset of illness. 

“The holy grail to deal with atopic dermatitis is to prevent it,” says study author Donald Leung, MD, PhD, division head of Pediatric Allergy and Clinical Immunology at National Jewish Health, in a news release. “It tends to come back when you treat it, so we really have to examine how to avoid getting it.”

Researchers partnered with hospitals in Korea, where physicians there used non-invasive skin tapes on the forearms of babies who were two months old, before signs of clinical atopic dermatitis typically present. The study participants included those with and without a family history of atopic diseases. Babies were clinically monitored from birth until they reached age two. Their skin cells were collected beginning at two months of age, and were analyzed by mass spectrometry in the laboratory of Evgeny Berdyshev, PhD, lead author of the study and the head of the mass spectrometry laboratory at National Jewish Health who pioneered this analytical assay.

“In order for us to introduce an effective preventative therapy, we must know the skin abnormalities before patients develop clinical rash. Now that we’ve discovered the biomarkers IL-13 and TSLP, we can find ways to prevent eczema by using targeted therapies, such as emollients or other biologics,” says Dr. Leung. “The disease begins because the skin barrier is leaky and allows allergens to come in through the skin. An abnormal skin barrier doesn’t protect a patient from environmental hazards.”

The study appears in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

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