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Providing Short Term Skin Barrier Protection May Help Prevent Atopic Dermatitis in Certain Infants

AAAAI News Release

February 3, 2023

April Presnell, Media & Member Communications Manager
(414) 272-6071

A new study being presented at the 2023 AAAAI Annual Meeting suggests that daily specialized emollient may reduce incidence of atopic dermatitis for certain high-risk infants during their first year of life.

Milwaukee, WI – Early research being presented at the 2023 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) found that infants with specific mutations may benefit from the use of daily specialized emollient to reduce the risk of developing atopic dermatitis.

Loss-of-function (LOF) filaggrin (FLG)-mutations are known to be the strongest genetic risk factor for atopic dermatitis. Researchers recruited 321 newborns for a study, randomizing them 1:1 between an intervention group receiving emollient treatment during the first two months of life and a control group. “Knowing this genetic risk factor, we wanted to examine if using this treatment at the start of life could make a difference on the future development of atopic dermatitis,” said Jonathan O. Hourihane, MD, FAAAAI, primary author of the study.

A total 257 infants with genotyping completed the study, with 119 in the intervention group and 138 in the control group. The 12-month cumulative incidence of atopic dermatitis was 46% in the control group compared to 33% in the intervention group.

Of all study participants, 17.4% were LOF-FLG mutation carriers, and they had higher atopic dermatitis prevalence in the control group of 56% at six months and 59% at 12 months, compared to 32% at six months and 34% at 12 months in WT-FLG. In the intervention group, LOF-FLG babies experienced atopic dermatitis rates similar to those of WT-FLG infants. “We did not know the children’s’ genotype until after the study finished. Being able to prospectively ascertain a child’s FLG status at birth could allow targeted, time sensitive treatments just for those most at risk and conversely could prevent other children, at lower risk, from entering trails or having unnecessary treatment,” said Dr. Hourihane.

The use of daily, specialized emollient in the first two months of an infant’s life may be beneficial for LOF FLG-mutation carriers, and could reduce their likelihood of developing atopic dermatitis in the future. Genetic testing for this mutation could help healthcare professionals determine which patients could benefit most from this preventative strategy.

Visit to learn more about atopic dermatitis. Research presented at the AAAAI Annual Meeting, February 24-27 in San Antonio, Texas, is published in an online supplement to The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) is the leading membership organization of more than 7,100 allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases. The AAAAI is the go-to resource for patients living with allergies, asthma and immune deficiency disorders. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has more than 7,100 members in the United States, Canada and 72 other countries. The AAAAI’s Find an Allergist/Immunologist service is a trusted resource to help you find a specialist close to home.