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February 1973

Allergic Contact Sensitivity in Atopic Dermatitis

Author Affiliations

USA; USA; USA, San Francisco

From the Department of Dermatology, Letterman General Hospital, and the Dermatology Research Division, Letterman Army Institute of Research, Presidio of San Francisco. Dr. Lewis is now at Brooke General Hospital, Fort Sam Houston, Tex. Dr. McMarlin is now with the 33rd Field Hospital, APO New York.

Arch Dermatol. 1973;107(2):217-222. doi:10.1001/archderm.1973.01620170029009

Allergic contact sensitivity to Rhus was investigated in 171 humans, 40 of whom had atopic dermatitis. Rhus dermatitis was found in only 3% of the atopic subjects, while 37% of healthy nonatopic controls claimed to have had rhus dermatitis.

Survey patch tests with rhus oleoresin were positive in 61% of controls but in only 15% of atopics. A second rhus patch test revealed that 6% of nonsensitive atopics and 31% of a nonsensitive control group had been sensitized by the first patch test. Resistance of individuals with atopic dermatitis to sensitization by rhus may be an example of immunologic unresponsiveness or due to an epidermal abnormality, and is possibly under genetic control.

Atopic dermatitis is hypothesized to be a phenotypic marker for a defect in the human's cell-mediated immune system.