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The role of food allergy in atopic dermatitis

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Atopic dermatitis (AD) affects ∼10% of children. Food allergy is a known provoking cause of AD in a subset of affected children. A literature search of PubMed and Medline was conducted to review the epidemiology and pathophysiology of AD, with special focus on the role of food allergy in the development of AD, its management, and its long-term preventive strategies. A literature search of PubMed and Medline was conducted. Food allergens readily provoke AD in ∼35% of patients, as proven through double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge studies. Milk, egg, wheat, soy, and peanut account for 75% of the cases of food-induced AD. However, the positive predictive values of the parental history, skin-prick tests, or serum tests for detecting food-specific IgE are low, making these unsuitable for use as single diagnostic modalities. Therefore, the use of a food challenge test is very helpful in objectively confirming the history or positive tests. Elimination diets are often helpful in challenge-proven cases, but care must be taken to evaluate the nutritional status of the child. There are few effective long-term strategies to prevent the development of food allergen‐induced AD. Early onset of AD has been shown to be a risk factor for the development of other allergic diseases, including other food allergy/sensitization, as part of the atopic march. Treatment of other causes of AD, such as barrier dysfunction and cutaneous infection, are of equal importance to food allergen avoidance. Food allergy is an important provoking cause of AD, but it is only relevant in ∼35% of affected individuals.
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Keywords: Atopic dermatitis; DBPCFC; ImmunoCAP; SCORAD; atopic march; eczema; elimination diet; food allergy; food challenge test; food sensitization; prick skin test; specific IgE

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Michigan Food Allergy Center, Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, The University of Michigan Medical School, The University of Michigan Health Systems, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Publication date: 01 September 2010

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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