Parental History of Atopic Disease Confers Atopic Dermatitis Risk in Offspring

Maternal and paternal history of atopic disease confers an equal — and greater — risk for atopic dermatitis in offspring and increases if both parents have a history of 1 or more atopic diseases.

A parental history of atopic disease such as atopic dermatitis (AD), asthma, and allergic rhinitis, is significantly associated with AD in their offspring and the relative effect size is similar for both parents, according to study research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The exact magnitude of the association between parental history of atopic disease and the development of atopic dermatitis is unknown, and it is unknown whether having 2 affected parents or parents with atopic multimorbidity increases this risk. Thus, researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of 119 studies to determine the association of a parental history of atopic disease with AD in offspring.

They found that individuals with a parental history of atopic disease had an increased risk  for AD (odds ratio [OR], 3.30; 95% CI, 2.46-4.42) and a history of parental asthma and allergic rhinitis had a smaller effect than AD (OR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.18-2.05 and OR, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.34-2.11, respectively). In addition, the effect of maternal and paternal history was comparable for all atopic diseases; however, an increase in odds was observed when comparing the effect of having 1 atopic parent (OR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.15-1.47) or 2 (OR, 2.08; 95% CI, 1.82-2.36), as well as having a parent with one or more atopic diseases.

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As a study limitation, the investigators noted that the studies mainly surveyed parental history of atopic disease through self-reports and it is unknown how well parents can remember their personal history of atopic disease.

The researchers believe the study data supports “evidence-based risk estimates that may guide physicians, who counsel parents with a history of atopic disease about their children’s risk of AD.” They added that this research is “of particular importance for future efforts towards establishing prophylactic interventions for AD on a general population level.”

Disclosure: Several study authors declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.

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Ravn NH, Halling A-S, Berkowitz AG, et al. How does parental history of atopic disease predict the risk of atopic dermatitis in a child? A systematic review and meta-analysis [published online December 28, 2019]. J Allergy Clin Immun. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2019.12.899