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J Invest Dermatol. 2006 Nov;126(11):2414-21. Epub 2006 Jun 15.

Sensitization to the yeast Malassezia sympodialis is specific for extrinsic and intrinsic atopic eczema.

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Allergy Unit, Department of Dermatology, Zurich, Switzerland.

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  • J Invest Dermatol. 2006 Nov;126(11):2551.


The opportunistic yeast Malassezia sympodialis belongs to the normal cutaneous flora but can also cause IgE-mediated sensitization in patients suffering from atopic eczema (AE). We investigated 706 individuals by ImmunoCAPm70 and skin-prick tests with a crude M. sympodialis extract. In AE patients, we further performed skin prick tests, atopy patch tests, ELISA, and peripheral blood mononuclear cells proliferation assays with recombinant M. sympodialis allergens (rMala s 1 and 5-9). In 52/97 patients with AE-specific IgE against M. sympodialis was detectable. Almost no reactivity to M. sympodialis was seen in patients suffering from other allergic diseases (4/571) and no reactivity at all was seen in healthy controls (0/38). Skin tests showed variable recognition patterns against the different molecular structures with a predominant sensitization to rMala s 1, 5, 6, and 9, confirmed also by specific serum IgE to these allergens. Interestingly, IgE- and T-cell-mediated reactivity against M. sympodialis was also found in patients with the intrinsic form of AE. Thus, sensitization to M. sympodialis is specific for AE patients and occurs in both the extrinsic and intrinsic variant of eczema. Recombinant yeast allergens represent a useful tool to study molecular structures and differential sensitization patterns in the pathogenesis of AE.

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