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Contact Dermatitis. 2008 Nov;59(5):257-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.2008.01426.x.

Classification of atopic hand eczema and the filaggrin mutations.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, DK-2900 Hellerup, Denmark.


Hand eczema is a common disease with various risk factors of which atopic dermatitis is known to be one of the most important. Recently, two mutations in the gene coding for filaggrin, a protein important for the skin barrier, have repeatedly been shown to be associated with atopic dermatitis. Moreover, one study point towards an association between the filaggrin null alleles and the subgroup of patients having both hand eczema and atopic dermatitis. For the remainder of hand eczema patients, still unknown genetic risk factors exist. We propose that in future, classification of atopic hand eczema should distinguish between patients with and without the filaggrin null alleles and to further differentiate between associations with type I allergy, type IV allergy and exposure to irritants, respectively. Furthermore, we suggest future studies of atopic hand eczema to analyse for the filaggrin mutations. We believe this will increase the possibility of subgrouping this otherwise heterogenic disease and thereby enable a better phenotype-genotype characterization of hand eczema. This could improve the preventive initiatives, secure better information of patients about the prognosis for their disease, and possibly enable targeted treatment.

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