Biopsies are the gold standard approach for obtaining skin samples to test for biomarkers in atopic dermatitis, but tape strips may offer a far less invasive alternative for young children with the disease, research suggests.1
Skin profiling studies have associated certain biomarkers with the development of atopic dermatitis, and these biomarkers can help physicians assess disease severity and determine the best treatment approach for each patient.2,3 However, performing a skin biopsy is often not practical in young children. While blood analysis is also less invasive, it cannot capture the whole atopic skin phenotype, which has led researchers to search for other techniques for younger patients, including tape strips. To date, most studies have focused on testing such strips in adults with atopic dermatitis.
For this study, published in October in JAMA Dermatology, researchers from several institutions performed mRNA profiling on the tape strips used to gather samples from children with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis of less than six months duration.
The strips were used on a total of 51 children younger than five years old at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Strips were applied to the skin of 21 lesional and non-lesional children who had developed atopic dermatitis within the last six months, and 30 children who did not have atopic dermatitis. Gene and protein expression were then evaluated using real-time polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistory.
Each child had 16 large D-Squame tape strips (CuDerm Corp) applied. Lesional skin was collected from the antecubital fossa (i.e., the triangular region in the forearm on the anterior surface of the elbow) when possible, and non-lesional skin was sampled from nearby on the same arm. Skin from children without atopic dermatitis was sampled from the same areas.
1. Guttman-yassky E, Diaz A, Pavel AB, et al. Use of Tape Strips to Detect Immune and Barrier Abnormalities in the Skin of Children With Early-Onset Atopic Dermatitis. JAMA Dermatol. 2019;
2. Brunner PM, Israel A, Zhang N, et al. Early-onset pediatric atopic dermatitis is characterized by T2/T17/T22-centered inflammation and lipid alterations. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2018;141(6):2094-2106.
3. Esaki H, Brunner PM, Renert-yuval Y, et al. Early-onset pediatric atopic dermatitis is T2 but also T17 polarized in skin. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2016;138(6):1639-1651.