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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1996 May;97(5):1064-70.

Induction of atopic dermatitis by inhalation of house dust mite.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University Hospital, Groningen, The Netherlands.



The pathogenetic role of house dust mite in atopic dermatitis remains controversial. Recent studies have shown that intensive epicutaneous contact of house dust mite allergen with premanipulated skin may induce dermatitis. It is, however, uncertain whether such conditions are met during natural contact with house dust mite. In the past, allergen inhalation has been suggested to induce exacerbation of atopic dermatitis. The aim of this study was to investigate whether dermatitis could be induced in patients with atopic dermatitis by inhalation of house dust mite.


Twenty patients with atopic dermatitis underwent bronchial provocations with house dust mite. Challenge tests were performed with four concentrations of a standardized house dust mite extract in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled fashion. Spirometry was performed, and FEV1 was measured before and after each challenge dose. Changes in severity or localization of itching or erythema were recorded.


In nine of 20 patients with atopic dermatitis bronchial challenge with house dust mite induced unequivocal skin symptoms after 1.5 to 17 hours. Pruritic erythematous lesions on noninvolved sites together with exacerbations of existing lesions were seen in three patients. Three patients had an exacerbation only, and three other patients had new lesions only. In eight of nine patients with house dust mite inhalation-induced dermatitis, skin symptoms were preceded by an early bronchial reaction. All patients with house dust mite-induced dermatitis had a history of asthma, and as a group they had a higher mean blood total IgE level compared with the "negative skin responders." One patient had pruritic erythema on the placebo challenge day, without a preceding bronchoconstrictive reaction. The number of patients who had a skin response on the house dust mite challenge day was significantly higher than the number of patients who had a skin response on the placebo day (p = 0.011 [Prescott's test]).


The respiratory route may be relevant in the induction and exacerbation of dermatitis in a subset of patients with atopic dermatitis who have early bronchial reactions after house dust mite inhalation, a history of asthma, and an elevated blood total IgE level. Furthermore, these findings suggest a possible causal relationship between bronchial reactions and skin reactions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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