Phenotype of atopic dermatitis subjects with a history of eczema herpeticum

Beck, L. A.; Boguniewicz, M.; Hata, T.; Schneider, L. C.; Hanifin, J.; Gallo, R.; Paller, A. S.; Lieff, S.; Reese, J.; Zaccaro, D.; Milgrom, H.; Barnes, K. C.; Leung, D. Y.

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Jun 23; 124(2):260-269 e7


BACKGROUND: A subset of subjects with atopic dermatitis (AD) are susceptible to serious infections with herpes simplex virus, called eczema herpeticum, or vaccina virus, called eczema vaccinatum. OBJECTIVE: This National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-funded multicenter study was performed to establish a database of clinical information and biologic samples on subjects with AD with and without a history of eczema herpeticum (ADEH(+) and ADEH(-) subjects, respectively) and healthy control subjects. Careful phenotyping of AD subsets might suggest mechanisms responsible for disseminated viral infections and help identify at-risk individuals. METHODS: We analyzed the data from 901 subjects (ADEH(+) subjects, n = 134; ADEH(-) subjects, n = 419; healthy control subjects, n = 348) enrolled between May 11, 2006, and September 16, 2008, at 7 US medical centers. RESULTS: ADEH(+) subjects had more severe disease based on scoring systems (Eczema Area and Severity Index and Rajka-Langeland score), body surface area affected, and biomarkers (circulating eosinophil counts and serum IgE, thymus and activation-regulated chemokine, and cutaneous T cell-attracting chemokine) than ADEH(-) subjects (P < .001). ADEH(+) subjects were also more likely to have a history of food allergy (69% vs 40%, P < .001) or asthma (64% vs 44%, P < .001) and were more commonly sensitized to many common allergens (P < .001). Cutaneous infections with Staphylococcus aureus or molluscum contagiosum virus were more common in ADEH(+) subjects (78% and 8%, respectively) than in ADEH(-) subjects (29% and 2%, respectively; P < .001). CONCLUSION: Subjects with AD in whom eczema herpeticum develops have more severe T(H)2-polarized disease with greater allergen sensitization and more commonly have a history of food allergy, asthma, or both. They are also much more likely to experience cutaneous infections with S aureus or molluscum contagiosum.

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