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Blame your gut for your skin allergies

According to a new study, many children with atopic dermatitis also have food allergies, and in the course of skin contact with food allergens, the disease can worsen.

world Updated: May 03, 2011 22:55 IST

According to a new study, many children with atopic dermatitis also have food allergies, and in the course of skin contact with food allergens, the disease can worsen.

Atopic dermatitis is a form of eczema that is caused by an inappropriate inflammatory response in the skin.

It is not yet clear why this happens, but it has been suggested that immune cells known as T cells that are sensitized by exposure to food allergens in the gut are responsible for the allergic reaction.

If Geha and colleagues at Harvard Medical School, Boston conducted an experiment on mice to support this idea.

Their findings indicate that skin contact with food allergens can lead to the reprogramming of gut-homing T cells into skin-homing T cells that mediate allergic skin inflammation.

The data has important implications for the prevention and treatment of atopic dermatitis in patients with food allergy.