Do Parental Allergic Diseases Affect Offspring Skin Sensitivity?

The study included a total of 256 pairs of infants and parents
The study included a total of 256 pairs of infants and parents

ATLANTA, GA—According to results of a cross-sectional study presented at the 2017 AAAAI Annual Meeting, parental allergic diseases might contribute to infant skin histamine hypersensitivity and skin diseases.

"Parental allergic diseases may affect skin hypersensitivity to histamine-mediated mast cells or histamine receptors in their infants, and initiate eczema," explained study coauthor Miwa Shinohara, MD, of the Ehime University Hospital in Japan.

The study included a total of 256 pairs of infants and parents. Questionnaires about parental and infantile eczema, atopic dermatitis (AD), and other allergic diseases were administered and skin prick tests (SPTs) with saline and histamine (1.0 mg/dL) were performed on infants' arms. Resulting wheal sizes were measured after 15 minutes. Infants were aged 2.8 to 18 months; 132 (52%) were female. 

The study found that infants with eczema had significantly larger wheal sizes to histamine compared to infants without eczema (4.4 ± 2.1mm vs. 3.6 ± 1.9mm, P=0.04). The associations between parental skin diseases and infant SPT responses were significantly stronger among infants with eczema than those without eczema (for infants with maternal skin diseases: mean wheal size 4.9 ± 2.3 mm in infants with eczema vs. 3.7 ± 1.9mm in those without eczema, P=0.02; for infants with paternal skin diseases: 4.8 vs. 3.6mm; P=0.01). 

The same was true for infants whose fathers did not have atopic dermatitis (AD; P=0.02). Findings of the analysis for mothers' AD status did not suggest that it might similarly modulate the relationship between infant histamine SPT responses and infant eczema, however.

Results of this cross-sectional study indicated that infantile eczema and skin hypersensitivity to histamine may be affected by maternal and paternal allergic skin diseases, Dr. Shinohara concluded.