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Genomic differences identified in common skin diseases

Updated: Jan 03, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

Washington: In a finding that may lead to
better treatments of skin diseases, dermatologists in the US
have identified genomic differences among common skin
disorders like eczema and psoriasis.

Scientists from Rockefeller University found remarkable
differences in the expression of genes that control the
differentiation of skin cells, establishing a new paradigm for
precisely classifying the diseases.

A team of researchers led by Emma Guttman and Mayte
Surez-Farias said the ability to distinguish between the
disorders` genetic and immunological signatures opens the door
for more narrowly targeted therapies sorely needed by the
millions of people afflicted worldwide.

The researchers used extensive genetic tests to detail
the gene expression patterns in skin samples of both diseases
and normal skin.

In experiments published this month in The Journal of
Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the team drilled down on the
molecular nitty-gritty that distinguishes the two most common
forms of inflammatory skin disease, atopic eczema and

Earlier genetic testing of eczema and psoriasis did not
use enough samples to produce the statistical power needed to
definitively establish how each disease differs from normal
skin, the researchers say.

Up to this point, scientists have focused in particular
on a defect in one gene associated with some cases of eczema
-- filaggrin.