(HealthDay News) — New gene variants associated with eczema have been identified. The new findings, published online October 19 in Nature Genetics, add to the number of genetic variants known to increase risk for the condition, making the total 31.

The researchers analyzed the genomes of 377,550 people worldwide. The team identified 10 new risk loci, with the total number of known atopic dermatitis risk loci now 31, with new secondary signals at four of these. All of the newly identified genetic changes play a role in immune system regulation and offer potential targets for scientists exploring new treatments for eczema, the study authors said.

The team also found evidence of some genetic overlap between eczema and other conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease. This suggests that studying these diseases together could improve understanding of the disorders and possibly lead to new treatments, the researchers said.

“Though the genetic variants identified in this current study represent only a small proportion of the risk for developing eczema…they do give new insights into important disease mechanisms,” study leader Lavinia Paternoster, PhD, an epidemiologist at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, said in a university news release.

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)