Atopic Dermatitis, Peanuts, and Genetics

Allergists and immunologists for years have noted the association of skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and eczema and food allergies, especially allergies to peanuts.  Heredity has also been a suspect in both conditions.  But now there is more than anecdotal evidence.

A large group of researchers working in the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, and Ireland published their findings last year in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.  They were attempting to identify if the genetic coding for filaggrin is a candidate gene in the etiology of peanut allergy.  Filaggrin is a protein in epithelial cells. You can read the entire article here.  The researchers concluded that FLG null mutations represent a highly significant genetic risk factor for atopic dermatitis and also are the single most significant genetic risk for peanut allergy that has been identified to date.

The reason I am writing about this today is because I just read a post two days ago by a respected allergist that indicated that some food allergies may disappear as a child matures.  He specifically mentioned that this did not apply to peanut allergy. Could it be that the epithelial cells that line the digestive tract are the real culprit?

I’m not a doctor and I don’t have the answers. I do know that if you have peanut allergy or atopic dermatitis researchers are hard at work decoding the causes to find the cure.

Just something to think about….until next time!

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