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Skin secretions from eczema may trigger asthma

By Catherine Wolf, KWMU

St. Louis, MO –

St. Louis researchers say a substance skin secretes when it's irritated may trigger asthma symptoms. Washington University scientists found that mice with eczema produced a substance called TSLP.

Study author Raphael Kopan says when the compound traveled through the bloodstreams of mice to their lungs, the mice had strong allergic reactions to allergens. He says TSLP acts as a warning device to tell the body to boost its immune system.

"It's a universal alarm system. Every barrier organ we hypothesis can understand that alarm system and can be made to stand on guard."

Kopan says if TSLP can be blocked in people with severe skin conditions, they may not get asthma. Between 50% and 70% of children with severe dermatitis get asthma.

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