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July 1957

The Role of Allergic Phenomena in the Etiology and Pathogenesis of Atopic Dermatitis

Author Affiliations

Sydney, Australia

AMA Arch Derm. 1957;76(1):27-30. doi:10.1001/archderm.1957.01550190029007

Controversy over the role and the significance of allergic factors persists in spite of numerous laboratory and clinical investigations on the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis (A. D.). The role of allergic hypersensitivity was emphasized prior to 1940, and a large number of papers were published on this subject.

The followers of the allergic concept stressed the relevance of ingestant, inhalant, and autotoxic stimuli, and attributed less significance to other factors. Cutaneous tests, the elimination of contact factors, and diets eliminating food allergens were thought to be of the greatest importance. The presence of antibodies was overemphasized, and the appearance of a wheal on testing was interpreted loosely as a specific and relevant antigen-antibody reaction.

Many attempts have been made in the past to prove that antibodies, either circulating in the blood or fixed to tissue cells, are responsible for specific allergic reactions and that