The skin as a target for prevention of the atopic march.
Journal: 2018/February - Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
ISSN: 1534-4436
Allergic diseases have increased dramatically in the developed world during the past few decades, yet the understanding of risk factors and effective prevention approaches remain limited. In this review, we summarize the evidence supporting the hypothesis that skin-barrier impairment and early-life atopic dermatitis (AD) could play a causal role in the development of sensitization and subsequent food allergies and allergic airways disease (allergic asthma and rhinitis). We further discuss the potential to target the skin barrier as a means to lower the incidence of allergic disease.
Review of published literature.
There is a strong link between AD and sensitization, food allergy, asthma, and allergic rhinitis, particularly AD that is severe and commences in the first 6 months of life. There also is emerging evidence that regular use of prophylactic emollients can significantly decrease the expression of AD, at least while treatment continues. Studies are exploring whether decreased AD expression might modulate the allergic response at a more fundamental level and potentially alter the association between early-life AD and subsequent development of food allergy and allergic airways disease.
Although at this point there is only indirect evidence that early-life emollient use might prevent AD and food allergy, early studies are encouraging. The results of high-quality prevention trials that are in progress are eagerly anticipated. If found to be effective, then neonatal emollient use could be a simple public health measure to lower the incidence of AD, food allergies, and allergic airways disease in future generations.
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