Clinical severity correlates with impaired barrier in filaggrin-related eczema

J Invest Dermatol. 2009 Mar;129(3):682-9. doi: 10.1038/jid.2008.280. Epub 2008 Sep 25.


Mutations in the gene-encoding filaggrin (FLG), a key molecule involved in skin barrier function, have been shown to be a major predisposing factor for atopic dermatitis (AD; eczema). To elucidate the pathomechanisms underlying filaggrin-related AD, we investigated stratum corneum (SC) hydration and transepidermal water loss (TEWL) as parameters of barrier function in AD patients harboring FLG mutations compared to AD patients without any FLG mutation. In filaggrin-related AD, SC hydration was both significantly reduced (P<0.01-0.05) and thicker (P<0.01-0.05) than that in healthy controls. TEWL was demonstrably increased in non-filaggrin AD compared to healthy controls (P<0.01-0.05). The objective score of atopic dermatitis (OSCORAD), a disease clinical severity index, significantly correlated with TEWL (r=0.81, P<0.005), SC hydration (r=-0.65, P<0.05), and SC thickness (r=0.59, P<0.05) in filaggrin-related AD. On the contrary, there was no correlation between these parameters and the OSCORAD in non-filaggrin AD. Furthermore, a significant correlation was obtained between the OSCORAD and specific IgE for house dust (r=0.66, P<0.05), mite allergen (r=0.53, P<0.05), and cat dander (r=0.64, P<0.05) in filaggrin-related AD, but not in non-filaggrin AD. All these data suggest that experimentally demonstrable skin barrier defects due to FLG mutations may play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Eczema / metabolism*
  • Epidermis / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / metabolism
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / chemistry*
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mutation*


  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • filaggrin
  • Immunoglobulin E