Scientists offer fresh hope to allergy sufferers after discovering a genetic defect in mice.
The research team discovered that when mice had the mutated gene they would suffer allergic inflammations similar to those of human eczema sufferers.
The filaggrin gene is responsible for creating an impermeable skin barriers to help keep it hydrated. When the gene mutates it can allow allergens to enter the body where they produce a range of allergic responses such as eczema, asthma and hay fever.
Scientists are now hoping they can use the breakthrough research to develop fresh treatments for people to help relieve the misery of allergies.
The researchers, from the UK and Japan, said: "Drugs or other treatments aimed at the filaggrin gene are still some years away but this work is a major step in the right direction and should give hope to those with these distressing conditions."
The research is published online in the international journal Nature Genetics.