Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 298–310 | Cite as

IgE, Mast Cells, and Eosinophils in Atopic Dermatitis



Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease with specific immune and inflammatory mechanisms. Atopy is among the major features of the diagnosis criteria for AD but is not an essential feature. Thus, patients diagnosed with AD can be atopic or non-atopic. This review focuses on the role of IgE, mast cells, and eosinophils in the pathogenesis of AD. The known functions of IgE in allergic inflammation suggest that IgE and IgE-mediated mast cell and eosinophil activation contribute to AD, but direct evidence supporting this is scarce. The level of IgE (thus the degree of allergic sensitization) is associated with severity of AD and contributed by abnormality of skin barrier, a key feature of AD. The function of IgE in development of AD is supported by the beneficial effect of anti-IgE therapy in a number of clinical studies. The role of mast cells in AD is suggested by the increase in the mast cell number and mast cell activation in AD lesions and the association between mast cell activation and AD. It is further suggested by their role in mouse models of AD as well as by the effect of therapeutic agents for AD that can affect mast cells. The role of eosinophils in AD is suggested by the presence of eosinophilia in AD patients and eosinophil infiltrates in AD lesions. It is further supported by information that links AD to cytokines and chemokines associated with production, recruitment, and activation of eosinophils.


IgE Mast cells Eosinophils Atopic dermatitis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of DermatologyUniversity of California-Davis School of MedicineSacramentoUSA

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