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Food Allergy and Atopic Dermatitis: How Are They Connected?


Food allergy predominantly affects children rather than adults with atopic dermatitis (AD). Early food sensitization has been found to be significantly associated with AD. Three different patterns of clinical reactions to food allergens in AD patients have been identified: 1) immediate-type symptoms, 2) isolated eczematous late-type reactions, and 3) combined reactions. Whereas in children, allergens from cow’s milk, hen’s egg, soy, wheat, fish, peanut, or tree nuts are primarily responsible for allergic reactions, birch pollen–related food allergens seem to play a major role in adolescent and adults with AD in Central and Northern Europe. Defects in the epidermal barrier function seem to facilitate the development of sensitization to allergens following epicutaneous exposure. The relevance of defects in the gut barrier as well as genetic characteristics associated with an increased risk of food allergy remain to be further investigated. Many studies focus on sufficient strategies of prevention, which actually include breastfeeding or feeding with hydrolyzed formula during the first 4 months of life.

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Correspondence to Annice Heratizadeh.

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Heratizadeh, A., Wichmann, K. & Werfel, T. Food Allergy and Atopic Dermatitis: How Are They Connected?. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep 11, 284–291 (2011).

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  • Allergens
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Food allergy
  • Sensitization
  • Pathogenesis
  • Prevention
  • Prevalence