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atopy in dogs, atopy meaning
Atopy is a predisposition toward developing certain allergic hypersensitivity2 reactions

Atopy may have a hereditary component, although contact with the allergen or irritant must occur before the hypersensitivity reaction can develop3 Maternal psychological trauma in utero may also be a strong indicator for development of atopy4

The term atopy was coined by Coca and Cooke in 192356 Many physicians and scientists use the term "atopy" for any IgE-mediated reaction even those that are appropriate and proportional to the antigen, but many pediatricians reserve the word "atopy" for a genetically mediated predisposition to an excessive IgE reaction7 The term is from Greek ἀτοπία meaning "placelessness"


  • 1 Signs and symptoms
  • 2 Pathophysiology
  • 3 Causes
    • 31 Genetics
    • 32 Staphylococcus aureus
  • 4 Changes in prevalence
  • 5 Treatments
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Signs and symptomsedit

Atopy atopic syndrome is a syndrome characterized by a tendency to be “hyperallergic” A person with atopy typically presents with one or more of the following: eczema atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis hay fever, or allergic asthma Some patients with atopy display what is referred to as the “allergic triad” of symptoms, ie all three of the aforementioned conditions Patients with atopy also have a tendency to have food allergies, allergic conjunctivitis, and other symptoms characterized by their hyperallergic state For example, eosinophilic esophagitis is found to be associated with atopic allergies

Atopic syndrome can be fatal for those who experience serious allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis, brought on by reactions to food or environment


The individual components of atopy are all caused at least in part by allergy type I hypersensitivity reactions Therefore, atopic responses appear after the body is exposed to various allergens, for example pollen, dander, dust mites, certain foods, or chemical/physical irritants

Although atopy has various definitions, in general, it is defined by the presence of elevated levels of total and allergen-specific IgE in the serum, leading to positive skin-prick tests to common allergens


Atopic reactions are caused by localized hypersensitivity reaction to an allergen Atopy appears to show a strong hereditary component One study concludes that the risk of developing atopic dermatitis 3% or atopy in general 7% "increases by a factor of two with each first-degree family member already suffering from atopy"8 As well, maternal stress and perinatal programming is increasingly understood as a root cause of atopy, finding that "trauma may be a particularly robust potentiator of the cascade of biological events that increase vulnerability to atopy and may help explain the increased risk found in low-income urban populations” 4

Environmental factors are also thought to play a role in the development of atopy, and the 'hygiene hypothesis' is one of the models that may explain the steep rise in the incidence of atopic diseases, though this hypothesis is incomplete and in some cases, contradictory to findings4 This hypothesis proposes that excess 'cleanliness' in an infant's or child's environment can lead to a decline in the number of infectious stimuli that are necessary for the proper development of the immune system The decrease in exposure to infectious stimuli may result in an imbalance between the infectious-response "protective" elements and the allergic-response "false alarm" elements within the immune system9

Some studies also suggest that the maternal diet during pregnancy may be a causal factor in atopic diseases including asthma in offspring, suggesting that consumption of antioxidants, certain lipids, and/or a Mediterranean diet may help to prevent atopic diseases10

The multicenter PARSIFAL study in 2006, involving 6630 children age 5 to 13 in 5 European countries, suggested that reduced use of antibiotics and antipyretics is associated with a reduced risk of allergic disease in children11


There is a strong genetic predisposition toward atopic allergies, especially on the maternal side Because of the strong familial evidence, investigators have tried to map susceptibility genes for atopy1213 Genes for atopy C11orf30, STAT6, SLC25A46, HLA-DQB1, IL1RL1/IL18R1, TLR1/TLR6/TLR10, LPP, MYC/PVT1, IL2/ADAD1, HLA-B/MICA14 tend to be involved in allergic responses or other components of the immune system C11orf30 seems to be the most relevant for atopy as it may increase susceptibility to poly-sensitization15

Staphylococcus aureusedit

Bleach baths provide temporary control of eczema16 Ciprofloxacin is an allergen that may cause contact dermatitis, symptoms of which are indistinguishable from eczema17 Filaggrin mutations are associated with atopic eczema and may contribute to the excessive dryness of the skin and the loss of the barrier function of normal skin18 It may be possible that the filaggrin mutations and the loss of the normal skin barrier expose crevices that make it possible for Staphylococcus aureus to colonize the skin19 Atopic eczema is often associated with genetic defects in genes that control allergic responses Thus, some investigators have proposed that atopic eczema is an allergic response to increased Staphylococcus aureus colonization of the skin20 A hallmark indicator of atopic eczema is a positive “wheal-and-flare” reaction to a skin test of S aureus antigens In addition, several studies have documented that an IgE-mediated response to S aureus is present in patients with atopic eczema2122

Changes in prevalenceedit

In adults, the prevalence of IgE sensitization to allergens from house dust mite and cat, but not grass, seem to decrease over time as people age23 However, the biological reasons for these changes are not fully understood


Corticosteroids: For years, there was no treatment for atopic eczema Atopy was believed to be allergic in origin due to the patients’ extremely high serum IgE levels, but standard therapies at the time did not help Oral prednisone was sometimes prescribed for severe cases Wet wraps covering the patients with gauze were sometimes used in hospitals to control itching However, the discovery of corticosteroids in the 1950s, and their subsequent incorporation in topical creams and ointments, provided a significant advancement in the treatment of atopic eczema and other conditions Thus, the use of topical steroids avoided many of the undesirable side-effects of systemic administration of corticosteroids Topical steroids control the itching and the rash that accompany atopic eczema Side-effects of topical steroid use are plentiful, and the patient is advised to use topical steroids in moderation and only as needed

Immune modulators: Pimecrolimus and tacrolimus creams and ointments became available in the 1980s and are sometimes prescribed for atopic eczema They act by interfering with T cells but have been linked to the development of cancer

Avoiding dry skin: Dry skin is a common feature of patients with atopic eczema see also eczema for information and can exacerbate atopic eczema

Avoiding allergens and irritants: See eczema for information

See alsoedit

  • Eczema


  1. ^ Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Atopy
  2. ^ "Dorlands Medical Dictionary:atopy" 
  3. ^ "Mosby's Medical Dictionary:atopy" Archived from the original on 2011-07-10 
  4. ^ a b c Wright, Rosalind J; Enlow, Michelle Bosquet 2008-09-01 "Maternal stress and perinatal programming in the expression of atopy" Expert review of clinical immunology 4 5: 535–538 ISSN 1744-666X PMC 2762209  PMID 19838310 doi:101586/1744666X45535 
  5. ^ Coca AF, Cooke RA 1923 On the classification of the phenomenon of hypersensitiveness J Immunol
  6. ^ Johannes Ring; Bernhard Przybilla; Thomas Ruzicka 2006 Handbook of atopic eczema Birkhäuser pp 3– ISBN 978-3-540-23133-2 Retrieved 4 May 2010 
  7. ^ Ruby Pawankar; Stephen T Holgate; Lanny J Rosenwasser 7 April 2009 Allergy Frontiers: Classification and Pathomechanisms Springer pp 33– ISBN 978-4-431-88314-2 Retrieved 4 May 2010 
  8. ^ Küster, W; Petersen, M; Christophers, E; Goos, M; Sterry, W December 12, 2004 "A family study of atopic dermatitis" Archives of Dermatological Research Springer Berlin / Heidelberg 282 2 / January, 1990: 98–102 doi:101007/BF00493466 
  9. ^ Grammatikos AP 2008 "The genetic and environmental basis of atopic diseases" Ann Med 40 7: 482–95 PMID 18608118 doi:101080/07853890802082096 
  10. ^ A Swedish research study titled “Atopy In Children Of Families With An Anthroposophic Lifestyle” comparing the rate of bronchial asthma, allergies, dermatitis, and other atopic diseases among Steiner school pupils and pupils in public schools originally appeared in the May 1, 1999 edition of the British medical journal The Lancet The findings indicated that Steiner school pupils were “at a significantly lower risk of atopy” than children attending public schools The researchers investigated a variety of factors in the lives of the Steiner school pupils that might have contributed to this lower rate of atopy, which included breastfeeding, lack of immunization, avoidance of antibiotics and medications that reduce fevers, consumption of bio-dynamic and organic foods, and other physical aspects of the children’s lives Devereux, Graham; Seaton, A December 2004 "Diet as a risk factor for atopy and asthma" J Allergy Clin Immunol 115 6: 1109–1117 PMID 15940119 doi:101016/jjaci2004121139 
  11. ^ Flöistrup, H, Swartz, J, Bergström, A, Alm, J S, Scheynius, A, et al 2006 Allergic disease and sensitization in Steiner school children The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 1171, 59-66 PMID 16387585 Reprint copy Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Blumenthal MN 2005 "The Role of Genetics in the Development of Asthma and Atopy" Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 5 141–5: 15764904 
  13. ^ Hoffjan S, Nicolae D, Ober C 2003 "Association Studies for Asthma and Atopic Diseases: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature" Respir Res 4 14: 14748924 CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list link
  14. ^ Bønnelykke, Klaus; Matheson, Melanie C; Pers, Tune H; Granell, Raquel; Strachan, David P; Alves, Alexessander Couto; Linneberg, Allan; Curtin, John A; Warrington, Nicole M; Standl, Marie; Kerkhof, Marjan; Jonsdottir, Ingileif; Bukvic, Blazenka K; Kaakinen, Marika; Sleimann, Patrick; Thorleifsson, Gudmar; Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur; Schramm, Katharina; Baltic, Svetlana; Kreiner-Møller, Eskil; Simpson, Angela; Pourcain, Beate St; Coin, Lachlan; Hui, Jennie; Walters, Eugene H; Tiesler, Carla M T; Duffy, David L; Jones, Graham; Ring, Susan M; McArdle, Wendy L; Price, Loren; Robertson, Colin F; Pekkanen, Juha; Tang, Clara S; Thiering, Elisabeth; Montgomery, Grant W; Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa; Dharmage, Shyamali C; Husemoen, Lise L; Herder, Christian; Kemp, John P; Elliot, Paul; James, Alan; Waldenberger, Melanie; Abramson, Michael J; Fairfax, Benjamin P; Knight, Julian C; Gupta, Ramneek; Thompson, Philip J; Holt, Patrick; Sly, Peter; Hirschhorn, Joel N; Blekic, Mario; Weidinger, Stephan; Hakonarsson, Hakon; Stefansson, Kari; Heinrich, Joachim; Postma, Dirkje S; Custovic, Adnan; Pennell, Craig E; Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta; Koppelman, Gerard H; Timpson, Nicholas; Ferreira, Manuel A; Bisgaard, Hans; Henderson, A John 30 June 2013 "Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies identifies ten loci influencing allergic sensitization" Nature Genetics 45 8: 902–906 PMC 4922420  PMID 23817571 doi:101038/ng2694 
  15. ^ Amaral, André F S; Minelli, Cosetta; Guerra, Stefano; Wjst, Matthias; Probst-Hensch, Nicole; Pin, Isabelle; Svanes, Cecilie; Janson, Christer; Heinrich, Joachim; Jarvis, Deborah L December 2014 "The locus increases susceptibility to poly-sensitisation" Allergy 70: 328–333 PMID 25546184 doi:101111/all12557 
  16. ^ Nguyen, T; Zuniga, R 2013 "Skin conditions: New drugs for managing skin disorders" FP essentials 407: 11–16 PMID 23600334 
  17. ^ Lee, S W; Cheong, S H; Byun, J Y; Choi, Y W; Choi, H Y 2013 "Occupational hand eczema among nursing staffs in Korea: Self-reported hand eczema and contact sensitization of hospital nursing staffs" The Journal of Dermatology 40 3: 182–187 PMID 23294332 doi:101111/1346-813812036 
  18. ^ O'Regan GM, Sandilands A, McLean WH, Irvine AD 2008 "Filaggrin in Atopic Dermatitis" J Allergy Clin Immunol 122 689–93: 18774165 CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list link
  19. ^ Breuer K, Kapp A, Werfel T 2001 "Bacterial Infections and Atopic Dermatitis" Allergy 56 1034–41: 11703215 CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list link
  20. ^ Abramson JS, Dahl MV, Walsh G, Blumenthal MN, Douglas SD, Quie PG 1982 "Antistaphylococcal IgE in Patients with Atopic Dermatitis" J Am Acad Dermatol 7 105–110: 7107990 CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list link
  21. ^ Parish WE, Welbourn E, Champion RH 1976 "Hypersensitivity to Bacteria in Eczema Ii Titre and Immunoglobulin Class of Antibodies to Staphylococci and Micrococci" Br J Dermatol 95 285–93: 974019 CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list link
  22. ^ Motala C, Potter PC, Weinberg EG, Malherbe D, Hughes J 1986 "Anti-Staphylococcus Aureus-Specific Ige in Atopic Dermatitis" J Allergy Clin Immunol 78 583–9: 3771950 CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list link
  23. ^ Amaral, André FS; Newson, Roger B; Abramson, Michael J; Antó, Josep M; Bono, Roberto; Corsico, Angelo G; de Marco, Roberto; Demoly, Pascal; Forsberg, Bertil; Gislason, Thorarinn; Heinrich, Joachim; Huerta, Ismael; Janson, Christer; Jõgi, Rain; Kim, Jeong-Lim; Maldonado, José; Martinez-Moratalla Rovira, Jesús; Neukirch, Catherine; Nowak, Dennis; Pin, Isabelle; Probst-Hensch, Nicole; Raherison-Semjen, Chantal; Svanes, Cecilie; Urrutia Landa, Isabel; van Ree, Ronald; Versteeg, Serge A; Weyler, Joost; Zock, Jan-Paul; Burney, Peter GJ; Jarvis, Deborah L November 2015 "Changes in IgE sensitization and total IgE levels over 20 years of follow-up" Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 137: 1788–1795e9 doi:101016/jjaci201509037 

External linksedit

  • Case Studies in Environmental Medicine CSEM: Environmental Triggers of Asthma – Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, US Department of Health and Human Services

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