New Study Finds Skin Immune Biomarker Test Helps Predict Eczema in Babies

New sticky tape study can help predict onset of pediatric atopic eczema in babies.

A new study presented at the 31st European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EAVD) Congress has found an immune biomarker in babies that could help predict the onset and severity of pediatric atopic eczema, or atopic dermatitis (AD) in newborns. The Barrier[LL1] Dysfunction in Atopic Newborns Study (BABY) included 300 full-term and 150 premature newborn AD patients. The children were enrolled at diagnosis and the severity was assessed using the Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI).

Researchers used tape strips on the back of the patients’ hands or in between their shoulder blades to analyze skin cells for immune biomarkers. According to the study, both term and preterm babies with elevated levels of TARC (thymus and activation-regulated chemokine) at 2 months were found to be more than twice as likely to develop eczema by the age of 2 years.1 The study found a positive correlation between the level of TARC and the severity of the eczema; the prevalence of the disorder was 34.6% among term children and 21.2% among pre-term children. TARC levels were elevated in children with AD onset before 6 months of age and in children with AD onset between 6 and 24 months of age when compared to children who did not develop AD.

The study was led by Anne-Sofie Halling, MD, from the Bispebjerg Hospital at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. The authors said this is the first study to show that noninvasively collected skin biomarkers can be used to predict the onset of pediatric atopic eczema, and more severe forms of AD. Two other biomarkers– interleukin (IL)-8 and IL-18 – were also associated with moderate-to-severe eczema in the study.

Eczema affects up to 20% of the pediatric population and diagnoses continue to rise.2 60% of children with the disease are predisposed to develop one or more atopic comorbidities, such as asthma, allergic rhinitis or food allergies. The condition causes dry, red, cracked and itchy skin, which can weep, bleed and become infected causing distress and sleep disturbance in children.

References:

  1. AS. Halling. Skin biomarker changes precede the development of atopic dermatitis during the first 2 years of life. Poser presented at European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology 31st Annual Congress. August 7-10, 2022; Milan Italy.
  2. Boguniewicz M, Leung DY. Atopic dermatitis: a disease of altered skin barrier and immune dysregulation. Immunol Rev. 2011;242(1):233-246.