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Australas J Dermatol. 2004 Nov;45(4):199-205; quiz 206-7.

Malassezia yeasts in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis.

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Department of Dermatology, Liverpool Hospital, Liverpool, New South Wales, Australia.


Atopic dermatitis is a common skin condition, the aetiology of which is multifactorial, involving genetic, immunological and environmental factors. In recent years, it has been suggested that various microbial organisms may also be involved in the pathogenesis of the disease. Yeasts belonging to the Malassezia genus have received particular attention. These yeasts, known to be a part of the normal skin flora, have been shown to be capable of inducing immunoglobulin (Ig)E-mediated and T-cell mediated immune responses postulated to contribute to chronic inflammation in the skin, particularly in the head and neck region, where colonization with Malassezia is the greatest. Considerable evidence now exists to support this idea, raising the possibility that specific antifungal therapy may be a useful treatment measure in some atopic patients who have a head and neck pattern of dermatitis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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