The role of cow milk allergy in increasing the severity of atopic dermatitis.Immunol Invest 2004; 33(1):69-79II
Previous studies have shown that up to 33% of children with atopic dermatitis have experienced food hypersensitivity and among different kinds of food allergens Cow Milk (CM) has almost always been one of the most common food allergens in children. The aim of this study is to evaluate the cow milk allergy (CMA) as an increasing factor of severity of atopic dermatitis. One hundred and nineteen children (between 1.5 months and 12 years of age) with atopic dermatitis in the sense of Hanifin and Rajka's criteria entered this study and the severity of atopic dermatitis was identified via the SCORAD index. In order to make the diagnosis of cow milk allergy, a careful history, and a familial history of allergy was taken and the results of skin prick test (SPT) with CM and 4 other food allergen extracts, Radioallergosorbent test (RAST) with CM allergens and a food challenge test with cow milk (fresh or dried) were used. Also a total serum IgE determination and an eosinophil count (with a stool exam) were accomplished. The clinical manifestations of atopic dermatitis in patients was started from their first day of life up to 10 years of age. The family history in 83% of the patients was positive. Positive skin prick test and RAST with CM allergens were positive in 37.9% and 29.3% of cases respectively and the response to challenge test with cow milk was positive in 35 out of 40 patients and in total 44.5% had CMA according to a positive history of cow milk allergy and a positive outcome of the IgE tests (SPT and/or RAST) or a positive challenge test with CM allergens. The results showed that the most common food allergens in patients with atopic dermatitis are certainly cow milk allergens (44.5%) whereas other food allergens are tomato (29.41%), egg (28.57%), nuts (9.24%) and wheat (3.36%) according to the skin prick test. The mean total serum IgE was 307.11 +/- 6.56 IU/ml (range = 6-5000) in children with CMA and 81.04 +/- 5.97 IU/ml (range = 1-5000) in children without CMA while the mean eosinophil count was 569.52 +/- 3.02 count/ml (range = 67-8500) and 314.22 +/- 2.94 count/ml (range = 5-5000) respectively. The mean severity of atopic dermatitis according to the SCORAD index was 60.76 in children with CMA and 44.29 in children without CMA. The severity of atopic dermatitis in patients with CMA was significantly higher than patients without CMA (p < 0.0001). Also the mean total serum IgE and mean eosionophil counts in children with CMA were significantly higher than in children without CMA (P < 0.01 and p < 0.0001, respectively). It shows the important role of CM allergen proteins in the induction and in increasing the severity of AD in children.