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Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2017 Oct 5;10:403-411. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S146760. eCollection 2017.

Feeding filaggrin: effects of l-histidine supplementation in atopic dermatitis.

Author information

1
MRC Centre for Inflammation Research.
2
Department of Dermatology, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh.
3
Dermatology Centre, Division of Musculoskeletal and Dermatological Sciences, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, University of Manchester, Manchester.
4
Curapel, Life Sciences Hub Wales, Cardiff, UK.

Abstract

Atopic dermatitis (AD), also known as eczema, is one of the most common chronic skin conditions worldwide, affecting up to 16% of children and 10% of adults. It is incurable and has significant psychosocial and economic impacts on the affected individuals. AD etiology has been linked to deficiencies in the skin barrier protein, filaggrin. In mammalian skin, l-histidine is rapidly incorporated into filaggrin. Subsequent filaggrin proteolysis releases l-histidine as an important natural moisturizing factor (NMF). In vitro studies were conducted to investigate the influence of l-histidine on filaggrin processing and barrier function in human skin-equivalent models. Our further aim was to examine the effects of daily oral l-histidine supplementation on disease severity in adult AD patients. We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover, nutritional supplementation pilot study to explore the effects of oral l-histidine in adult AD patients (n=24). In vitro studies demonstrated that l-histidine significantly increased both filaggrin formation and skin barrier function (P<0.01, respectively). Data from the clinical study indicated that once daily oral l-histidine significantly reduced (P<0.003) AD disease severity by 34% (physician assessment using the SCORingAD tool) and 39% (patient self-assessment using the Patient Oriented Eczema Measure tool) after 4 weeks of treatment. No improvement was noted with the placebo (P>0.32). The clinical effect of oral l-histidine in AD was similar to that of mid-potency topical corticosteroids and combined with its safety profile suggests that it may be a safe, nonsteroidal approach suitable for long-term use in skin conditions that are associated with filaggrin deficits such as AD.

KEYWORDS:

amino acid; atopic dermatitis; eczema; filaggrin; l-histidine; nutritional supplement; skin barrier

Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure CEMG reports grants from Zymogenetics, Stiefel, and Regeneron, grants and personal fees from Novartis and Pfizer. NKG is a founding director of Curapel, a University of Manchester spin-out company owning patents in this field. The other authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.

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