Project: Genetic susceptibility to dermal exposure

Humans are daily exposed to a large variety of chemicals from the surrounding environment. The skin is an effective barrier that prevents the entry of foreign substances into the body.

However, the skin in not entirely impermeable and many substances can penetrate the dermal barrier to different degrees depending on size and physical/chemical properties. Dermal exposure is increasingly being recognized as an important exposure route for chemicals which, in addition to local effects and skin diseases, can cause systemic effects (e.g. oxidative stress and inflammation) if the chemical is absorbed and ultimately result in diseases such as asthma and cancer. Variation in the gene FLG, coding for the protein filaggrin, seems to influence the susceptibility to dermal chemical exposure. Filaggrin is important for skin the barrier function by aggregating keratin filament in the stratum corneum and in the maintenance of the skin’s natural moisture and pH. The aim of this project is to evaluate to which degree genetic variation in filaggrin contributes to differences in dermal uptake and toxicity of chemicals for which dermal exposure is common among the population.


  • FORTE - The Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare
  • Karolinska Institutet

Selected publications

Wahlberg K, Rietz Liljedahl E, Alhamdow A, Lindh C, Lidén C, Albin M, Tinnerberg H, Broberg K. Filaggrin variations are associated with PAH metabolites in urine and DNA alterations in blood. Environmental Research 2019;177:108600.

Liljedahl ER, Wahlberg K, Lidén C, Albin M, Broberg K. Genetic variants of filaggrin are associated with occupational dermal exposure and blood DNA alterations in hairdressers. Science of Total Environment 2018:27;653:45-54.

Contact person

Anna Persson