In a study on newborn mice, a group of researchers at the Black Family Stem Cell Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine on Mount Sinai discovered an essential protein for the formation of the skin barrier, HDAC3. Furthermore, mice could not develop a functional skin barrier without the HDAC3 protein.
Your skin barrier prevents the loss of water and the entry of irritants into the dermis. Therefore, it makes sense that a disturbed barrier leads to severely dehydrated skin and aggravates inflammatory conditions (such as the aforementioned eczema).
"While HDAC3 has been explored in a variety of contexts, its role and transcription partner in the developing epidermis have not been identified," said Katherine Szigety, a PhD student and lead author of the study, in a press release. That means we're just beginning to scratch the surface when it comes to this useful protein in our skin – but its potential for a better understanding of inflammatory skin diseases is promising.
According to Sarah E. Millar, director of the Black Family Stem Cell Institute, this is the next step for the research group. Now that they know how important this is for a functioning skin barrier, they can delve deeper into these specific skin conditions, whether these patients lack the important molecule and how it all comes together.
Currently, patients are advised to limit known triggers to keep flare-ups to a minimum. According to Derms, identifying and avoiding these triggers may currently be the most important part of treating inflammatory skin conditions. However, if we find the root cause of these diseases, it may result in much earlier intervention, more targeted remedial action, and even long-term treatment.