Investigating the role of human periostin in healthy skin and severe eczema

Beneficiary: Jan J. Enghild, Aarhus University

Grant: 3.045.231 DKK

Severe eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis (AD) is the most common inflammatory skin disease resulting in itchy, inflamed, and swollen skin that is very susceptible to infection. It is estimated that 15-20% of all children and 2-10% of adults are affected, without effective treatment.

Because of this, significant public health burden and the lack of safe and effective treatments, there is a need for novel targeted therapeutics that can help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for the patients.

The protein periostin is expressed in the skin and is implicated in AD. Significantly, studies have shown that the elimination of periostin in an AD mouse model reduces or completely removes the symptoms making periostin an apparent therapeutic target. However, the physiological functions of periostin remains unclear and a reduction or elimination of the protein in the skin could have severe side effects.

Therefore, a deeper understanding of the physiological role in healthy and diseased skin must be established. The interdisciplinary research team behind this project propose to address these issues and establish the function of periostin using in vitro and in vivo experimental setups including primary cell cultures, zebrafish, mouse models and human specimens combined with advanced biochemical methods. Novel therapeutics are urgently needed, and this project aim is to establish a strategy for the development of new treatment paradigms for AD, leading towards novel, innovative therapeutic strategies.