Archives of Dermatological Research

, Volume 282, Issue 2, pp 98–102

A family study of atopic dermatitis

Clinical and genetic characteristics of 188 patients and 2,151 family members


  • W. Küster
    • Department of DermatologyUniversity of Düsseldorf
  • M. Petersen
    • Department of DermatologyUniversity of Kiel
  • E. Christophers
    • Department of DermatologyUniversity of Kiel
  • M. Goos
    • Department of DermatologyUniversity of Essen
  • W. Sterry
    • Department of DermatologyUniversity of Kiel
Original Contributions

DOI: 10.1007/BF00493466

Cite this article as:
Küster, W., Petersen, M., Christophers, E. et al. Arch Dermatol Res (1990) 282: 98. doi:10.1007/BF00493466


The history of 188 Caucasian patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) and of 2,151 family members has been analyzed. Of the AD patients 48% suffered from respiratory atopy (36% rhinitis, 28% asthma, and 15% both). AD showed by far the earliest onset of all atopic diseases: 50% of our patients had skin lesions before the age of 2 years and 60% before the age of 5 years. In contrast, symptoms of allergic asthma developed in 40% of AD patients before the age of 5 years in comparison with only 25% who had allergic rhinitis. AD affects females more frequently than males (male to female ratio 1∶1.5), regardless of whether additional respiratory atopies are present or not. In contrast, respiratory atopies develop more frequently in males than in females (male to female ratio 1.5∶1). Mothers with respiratory atopy more often have atopic children (26%) than do fathers with respiratory atopy (13%). Finally, risk figures for genetic counselling are given. In short, the general risk of developing AD (3%) and atopy (7%) increases by a factor of two with each first-degree family member already suffering from atopy.

Key words

Atopic dermatitisFamily studyGenetic recurrence riskGenetic counselling

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990