BPoD has moved!

BPoD has recently changed our domain name - we can now be found at bpod.org.uk

Please update your bookmarks!

Now in our 12th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Surprise Suspect

Enzyme involved in sex hormone production is increased in eczema-affected skin

10 October 2021

Surprise Suspect

The itchy, flakey patches of skin characteristic of atopic dermatitis, better known as eczema, are the result of both skin dryness and inflammation. But, according to recent research there’s another somewhat unexpected culprit behind the condition: an enzyme called HSD3B1 that helps make sex hormones. Activity of HSD3B1 is ramped up in the skin of people with eczema, as are the inflammatory cytokines IL4 and IL13. And, what’s more, these cytokines boost HSD3B1 activity in cultured human cells. In human skin sebaceous glands, like the one pictured, increased activity of the HSD3B1 (red) is associated with increased sex hormone production and with reduced production of sebum, the skin’s natural moisturiser, thus explaining how the enzyme contributes to the condition. While moisturisers and steroid creams are often effective for treating eczema, the discovery that over-active HSD3B1 is also part of the problem, provides an unexplored avenue for developing novel eczema therapies.

Written by Ruth Williams

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.