Botulinum toxin may hold key for treatment of common skin diseases
Washington: Botulinum toxin could have an enormous potential in treatment of inflammatory skin diseases like psoriasis and eczema, researchers have claimed.
Erin Gilbert, MD, PhD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn, New York, explained that a quandary in dermatology is the widespread use of steroids in treating inflammatory skin diseases.
While very little is known about the interaction between blood vessels and nerves in the skin, dermatologists are optimistic that the new research exploring how botulinum toxin type A can influence this interaction could lead to a new therapy for chronic inflammatory skin conditions.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition and is one of the most prevalent autoimmune diseases.
One animal-model study conducted by Gilbert in collaboration with Nicole L. Ward, PhD, at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, found promising results using botulinum toxin type A to target psoriasis. In this mouse-model psoriasis study, Gilbert and Ward showed that botulinum toxin injections improved the clinical appearance of psoriasis and decreased the presence of specific cells in the affected skin of the mouse, while also reducing the number of blood vessels and their adjacent nerves.
The decreased number of blood vessels within the affected skin of the treated mice illustrates the role of nerves and blood vessels in perpetuating the appearance of an inflammatory skin disease, like psoriasis.
Eczema is another chronic inflammatory skin condition marked by dry, itchy skin. Atopic dermatitis - the most common form of eczema - affects millions of people, including an estimated six to 10 percent of children.
Early research suggests that there could be a role for botulinum toxin in combating itch by better understanding the interaction of the vascular system in inflammatory skin conditions.
Injections of botulinum toxin could promote wound healing following a burn injury.
In rheumatology, the toxin can help treat painful blood vessel conditions like Raynaud`s disease and scleroderma.
In instances where scleroderma affected the fingertips, injections of botulinum toxin has shown to almost immediately reduce pain.