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Atopic dermatitis and disease severity are the main risk factors for food sensitization in exclusively breastfed infants

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Carsten Flohr, Michael Perkin, Kirsty Logan, Tom Marrs, Suzana Radulovic, Linda E. Campbell, Stephanie F. MacCallum, W. H Irwin McLean, Gideon Lack

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-350
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number2
Early online date8 Dec 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Dec 2015

King's Authors


Filaggrin (FLG) loss-of-function skin barrier gene mutations are associated with atopic dermatitis (AD) and transepidermal water loss (TEWL). We investigated whether FLG mutation inheritance, skin barrier impairment, and AD also predispose to allergic sensitization to foods. Six hundred and nineteen exclusively breastfed infants were recruited at 3 months of age and examined for AD and disease severity (SCORing Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD)), and screened for the common FLG mutations. TEWL was measured on unaffected forearm skin. In addition, skin prick testing was performed to six study foods (cow's milk, egg, cod, wheat, sesame, and peanut). Children with AD were significantly more likely to be sensitized (adjusted odds ratio (OR)=6.18, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.94-12.98, P<0.001), but this effect was independent of FLG mutation carriage, TEWL, and AD phenotype (flexural vs. non-flexural). There was also a strong association between food sensitization and AD severity (adjusted OR SCORAD<20 =3.91, 95% CI: 1.70-9.00, P=0.001 vs. adjusted OR SCORAD≥20 =25.60, 95% CI: 9.03-72.57, P<0.001). Equally, there was a positive association between AD and sensitization with individual foods (adjusted OR egg =9.48, 95% CI: 3.77-23.83, P<0.001; adjusted OR cow's milk =9.11, 95% CI: 2.27-36.59, P=0.002; adjusted OR peanut =4.09, 95% CI: 1.00-16.76, P=0.05). AD is the main skin-related risk factor for food sensitization in young infants. In exclusively breastfed children, this suggests that allergic sensitization to foods can be mediated by cutaneous antigen-presenting cells.

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