Background: Sensitization to food allergens has been implicated in the pathogenesis of atopic diseases, in particular atopic dermatitis (AD). The aim of the present paper is to investigate the natural course of sensitization to egg and to cow's milk and its relationship with the severity of AD. Methods: The placebo intention-to-treat population of the ETAC™ (Early Treatment of the Atopic Child) study consisted of 397 children with AD aged 12-24 months (mean ± SD: 17.2 ± 4.1 months) who were followed for 18 months. All children were examined for objective SCORing Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) and specific IgE amongst other, to egg and to cow's milk at inclusion and after 3, 12 and 18 months. Fifteen patients were excluded from this analysis due to major protocol violations thus leaving 382 patients in the analysed population. Results: Sensitization to egg and to cow's milk was more common in atopic children with severe AD at all time-points. At inclusion, children sensitized to both egg and to cow's milk had the most severe AD (Kruskall-Wallis test P = 0.007). The degree of sensitization expressed in RAST classes was significantly related to the severity of AD. Furthermore, children sensitized to egg or to cow's milk at inclusion had a higher risk of persistence of AD (84% and 67%, respectively, vs. 57% in those not sensitized) and a higher objective SCORAD after 18 months follow-up. Conclusion: We found an association between severity of AD and sensitization to egg or to cow's milk. Moreover, sensitization to egg, and to a lesser extent cow's milk, indicates a worse outcome of AD in terms of persistence and severity of the disease.

Atopic dermatitis, Atopy, Children, Cow's milk sensitization, Egg sensitization, Predictor factor,
Clinical and Experimental Allergy
Department of Dermatology

Wolkerstorfer, A, Wahn, U, Kjellman, N.I.M, Diepgen, T.L, de Longueville, M, & Oranje, A.P. (2002). Natural course of sensitization to cow's milk and hen's egg in childhood atopic dermatitis: ETAC™ study group. Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 32(1), 70–73. doi:10.1046/j.0022-0477.2001.01265.x