Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic, pruritic and inflammatory, dry skin condition with many known comorbidities. These include airway disease, food allergies, atopic eye disease and autoimmune conditions. Furthermore, there is often significant sleep disturbance as well as increased psychological distress and mental health problems. Severe AD therefore often has a significant impact on the quality of life of both patients and their families. In this review we discuss recent findings on the putative links between AD, its association with itch, sleep disturbance and neuropsychiatric morbidity, including the role of inflammation in these conditions. Itch was thought to predominantly drive sleep disruption in AD. We now understand changes in sleep influence immune cell distribution and the associated inflammatory cytokines, which suggests a bidirectional relationship between AD and sleep. We also increasingly recognize inflammation as a key driver in psychological symptoms and disorders. The link between cutaneous, systemic and possible brain inflammation could at least in part be driven by the sleep deprivation and itch-driven neuronal proliferation seen in AD.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalAllergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Early online date19 Jul 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jul 2023


  • atopic dermatitis
  • cognitive dysfunction
  • inflammation
  • quality-of-life
  • sleep disruption

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