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Open Access Association of Stress with Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis

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Psychological stress and atopic dermatitis (AD) symptoms appear to form a vicious cycle. This study compared the degree of stress and impairment of dermatology life quality between patients with AD and healthy controls, and examined for neuropeptides and neurotrophins associated with stress in AD. Questionnaires, comprising five tests evaluating depression, anxiety, interaction anxiousness, private body consciousness, and dermatology life quality, were examined in age- and sex-matched patients with AD (n = 28) and healthy controls (n = 28). Immunohistochemical staining of nerve growth factor, substance P, corticotrophin-releasing factor receptor and neuropeptide Y was performed in the AD-involved and normal skin. Patients with AD showed high scores on all of the questionnaires, including Beck Depression Inventory, state anxiety, trait anxiety, Interaction Anxiousness Scale, Private Body Consciousness subscale, and Dermatology Life Quality Index. All of the parameters, except for Beck Depression Inventory, showed higher values in AD than healthy controls (p < 0.001). Statistically significant correlations were observed between each psychological parameter and Dermatology Life Quality Index. Among the clinical parameters, only pruritus was positively correlated with state anxiety (R = 0.573, p < 0.05) and trait anxiety (R = 0.525, p < 0.05). The Eczema Area and Severity Index score did not show any significant correlations with psychological parameters. Nerve growth factor-reactive cells were observed more abundantly and intensely in both epidermis and dermis of AD involved skin (n = 4) than in healthy controls (n = 3) (p = 0.022 and 0.029, respectively). Also, the number and intensity of neuropeptide Y-positive cells was significantly greater in the entire epidermis of patients with AD than in healthy controls (n = 3) (p = 0.029 and 0.026, respectively). We conclude that anxiety may be associated with the induction of pruritus through neuropeptide Y and nerve growth factor.

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Keywords: ATOPIC DERMATITIS; NERVE GROWTH FACTOR; NEUROPEPTIDE Y; QUESTIONNAIRE; STRESS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • Acta Dermato-Venereologica is a bi-monthly international peer-reviewed journal for clinical and experimental research in the field of dermatology and venereology.

    It was founded in 1920 by Johan Almqvist and edited during 1936-1969 by Sven Hellerström. Since 1970, the journal has been published for the Society for the Publication of Acta Dermato-Venereologica on a non-profit basis.

    Acta Dermato-Venereologica publishes high-quality manuscripts in English dealing with new observations on basic dermatological and venereological research, as well as clinical investigations. Each volume also features a number of review articles in special areas, as well as short Letters to the Editor to stimulate debate and to disseminate important clinical observations. Acta Dermato-Venereologica has rapid publication times and is amply illustrated with a large number of colour photographs to enhance understanding.

    Acta Dermato-Venereologica covers inter alia:

    • ~ Atopic dermatitis and contact allergy
    • ~ Facial dermatoses and adnexal disorders
    • ~ New treatments
    • ~ Psoriasis and genodermatoses
    • ~ Psychodermatology
    • ~ Sexually transmitted diseases
    • ~ Skin biology and inflammation
    • ~ Skin cancer and pigmentation
    • ~ Skin immunology and lymphoma
    • ~ Urticaria and itch

    Extensive papers, proceedings from congresses and symposia are printed as supplements to the journal. Announcements concerning pertinent dermatological meetings and books received are also published.
    Readership: Doctors and scientists interested in dermatology, skin biology and venereology.

    Acta Dermato-Venereologica has an impact factor of 3.007.

    Issues between 1998 up to 2005 can be found at http://www.medicaljournals.se/acta/content


    Since Acta Dermato-Venereologica is an Open Access journal, the contents will no longer be provided via Ingenta Connect after December 31, 2020. To continue accessing the journal free of charge please go to https://www.medicaljournals.se/acta/.
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