Allergen-Specific Immunotherapy With Animal Dander May Aid Patients With AD

dog licking man's face
dog licking man’s face
Allergen-specific immunotherapy using animal dander may effectively treat atopic dermatitis.

Patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) may benefit from allergen-specific immunotherapy (AIT) with animal (cat and/or dog) dander, with marked improvement of symptoms in addition to the decrease in specific immunoglobulin (Ig)E levels and increase in specific IgG4 levels, according to study research published in Immunity, Inflammation and Disease.

A significant percentage of  patients with AD are sensitized to allergens, most frequently to house dust mites, in which serum total IgE and specific IgE to certain allergens are generally found to be increased. Allergen-specific immunotherapy has been used as an effective treatment modality for patients with AD; however, for those patients with AD who are sensitized to cat or dog dander, the treatment may not be as effective when avoiding the allergen is not possible.

In this study, researchers enrolled 19 patients (meanage, 31.74 ±9.71 years; 15 female) with AD who were sensitized to animal dander and underwent AIT.  Two of the patients had AD only and17 patients had 1 or more concomitant allergic diseases, such as allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis, or allergic conjunctivitis. Researchers obtained patients’ medical information and assessed the specific IgE and IgG4 levels by CAP immunoassay before and after AIT.

The results revealed 7 patients were sensitized only to cat and/or dog dander but not to house dust mites. The range of duration for AIT was to 58 months. The symptoms were well controlled for 17 patients. The specific levels of IgE were decreased (P = .005) whereas levels of IgG4 tended to increase after AIT, although not significantly. Investigators observed no adverse events in these patients.

Limitations of the study include the small sample size, inclusion of patients with AD who are sensitized to other allergens as well, and the observational nature of the study.

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The authors concluded that these results “may provide insights for new therapeutic options for AD patients sensitized to animal dander, especially for severe AD patients with other respiratory allergic comorbidities who cannot completely avoid exposure to animal dander.”

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Chu H, Park KH, Kim SM, Lee J, Park J, Lee KH, et al. Allergen-specific immunotherapy for patients with atopic dermatitis sensitized to animal dander [published online March 12]. Immun Inflamm Dis. doi:10.1002/iid3.291