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Arch Dermatol. 2004 Dec;140(12):1471-5.

Fewer melanocytic nevi found in children with active atopic dermatitis than in children without dermatitis.

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Department of Biomedicine and Surgery, Division of Dermatology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Linköping, Linköping, Sweden.



To investigate the effects of atopic diseases on nevus development during childhood.


A descriptive survey of nevi in a cohort of 8- and 9-year-old children combining a skin examination and a validated questionnaire regarding atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, and bronchial asthma.


Fifty-one primary schools in Sweden.


A total of 788 children born in 1992 participated in 1999 in a prevalence study of allergic diseases. The present study was restricted to the 545 children from that study who were still living in the community, and 515 (94%) of them participated. The cumulative incidence of atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, and bronchial asthma was 24%, 12%, and 13%, respectively, from birth to age 7 years as reported by questionnaire; 3% reported all 3 diagnoses.


Children with reported atopic dermatitis and findings of active dermatitis on examination had fewer nevi (median, 4; mean, 7.4) than children with no reported atopic disease and no active dermatitis found on examination (median, 9; mean, 11.2) (P<.001). Children who developed active atopic dermatitis after the questionnaire was filled out (ie, during the last 2 years) had fewer nevi than children with no atopic disease (median, 3; mean, 5.3) (P<.001). There was no difference in nevus number between the children with bronchial asthma or allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and children with no atopic disease.


Children with atopic dermatitis had few melanocytic nevi, which suggests that the proinflammatory cytokine network in the atopic skin might inhibit melanocyte growth and/or progression to nevi.

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