Archives of Dermatological Research

, Volume 282, Issue 2, pp 98–102 | Cite as

A family study of atopic dermatitis

Clinical and genetic characteristics of 188 patients and 2,151 family members
  • W. Küster
  • M. Petersen
  • E. Christophers
  • M. Goos
  • W. Sterry
Original Contributions


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 dermatitis Family study Genetic recurrence risk Genetic counselling 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Küster
    • 1
  • M. Petersen
    • 2
  • E. Christophers
    • 2
  • M. Goos
    • 3
  • W. Sterry
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of DermatologyUniversity of DüsseldorfFRG
  2. 2.Department of DermatologyUniversity of KielFRG
  3. 3.Department of DermatologyUniversity of EssenFRG

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