Children can have an allergic reaction to any part of their skin even when they are not complaining of an eczema a skin disorder caused by an overactive immune system. Researchers have now found that this allergy can even be felt but has not been related to rash or to skin cancer and may be explained by a regulation that was not yet understood. This hinted at a hidden process involving a regulation of skin stem cells (skin cells in the underlying healthy layers) in the epidermis.
The research group led by Prof. Heiko Sigmund assistant professor at the Department of Advanced Medical Research University of Tokyo studied skin of children 5-8 years old with a superficial eczema which usually occurs in adults and adolescents. Intensive research was carried out to identify new factors that could account for the allergy discovered in the children.
They noticed that individuals with eczema can often experience severe itching who were previously not complaining of such itching. Loss of epidermal hyaluronic acid (EGA) plays an important role in eczema and often this is caused through contact with chemicals (peptide-rich foods) like toy feathers and mistletoe. The skin also produces some peptides itself. These peptides are another cause of allergic reaction and are usually not detectable through conventional means said Heiko Sigmund.
The children had recently eaten pebble-filled toys which caused acute skin irritation. Treatment consisted of patching with a synthetic synthetic hydrogel to which they applied daily until it was no longer visible and tabstaining.
The children showed no signs of allergic inflammation when metachronic immunotherapy was given to the skin. Our findings strongly suggest that the loss of epidermal PGAs can be the cause of allergy. The hormone-receptor tyrosine kinase MC which is known to control epidermal immune function also plays a role in the development of eczema said Heiko Sigmund.