The ins and outs of an ‘outside-in’ view of allergies: atopic dermatitis and allergy prevention

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The skin barrier is a dynamic innate immune organ. This review summarizes the current understanding of how deficiencies associated with atopic dermatitis invite other atopic disorders of the allergic march.

Recent findings

Atopic dermatitis is characterized by skin barrier defects (such as mutations in filaggrin), intrinsic proallergic T-helper cell 2 immune dysregulation, and skin microbiome alterations. These factors promote the development of food allergy and asthma. Prevention of atopic dermatitis may involve topical emollients and oral probiotic supplementation, while some food allergies can be prevented by early introduction of potential food allergens to at-risk infants. Traditional therapies for atopic dermatitis involve skin hydration, emollients, and anti-inflammatory topical therapies including topical corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors. Dupilumab is a new and promising targeted biologic medication approved for use in adults with more severe atopic dermatitis; however, additional research is needed to determine whether this medication should be incorporated more broadly into management of severe childhood atopic dermatitis.

Summary

Atopic dermatitis management involves early diagnosis, skin barrier function support, mitigation of cutaneous inflammation, and concomitant risk stratification for the development of food allergy, asthma, allergic rhinitis, and environmental allergies.

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