May 2, 2011
Skin Sensitivity To Food Allergens Explained
Atopic dermatitis is a form of eczema that is caused by an inappropriate inflammatory response in the skin. Many children with atopic dermatitis also have food allergies, and skin contact with food allergens can make their atopic dermatitis worse. It is unclear why this occurs, but it has been suggested that immune cells known as T cells that are sensitized by exposure to food allergens in the gut are responsible. Raif Geha and colleagues, at Harvard Medical School, Boston, have now generated data in a mouse model of food allergen"“induced atopic dermatitis that support this idea. Specifically, their data indicate that skin contact with food allergens can lead to the reprogramming of gut-homing T cells into skin-homing T cells that mediate allergic skin inflammation. These data have important implications for the prevention and treatment of atopic dermatitis in patients with food allergy.