Atopy (Greek ατοπία - placelessness, not allocatable) or atopic syndrome is the clustering of eczema (atopic dermatitis), allergic conjunctivitis, allergic rhinitis and asthma in certain individuals. There appears to be a strong hereditary component, presumably certain genes coding proteins involved in the normal immune response mechanism i.e Human leukocyte antigen, although environmental factors have also been implicated. more...
The individual components are all caused at least in part by allergy (type I hypersensitivity reactions). These responses appear in the contact after the body was exposed to different allergens, for example specific kinds of food, pollen, dander and insect venoms. Although atopy has various definitions, most consistently it is defined by the presence of elevated levels of total and allergen-specific IgE in the serum of patient, leading to positive skin-prick tests to common allergens.
Some physical attributes have been associated with atopic syndrome, although the real relationship is poorly understood:
- A skin fold under the eyes termed "Dennie-Morgan folds";
- A collection of short hairs under the bangs (American English), or fringe (British English);
- It is more common in redheads (American English), or ginger-haired people (British English).
Some symptoms, from an atopy questionaire:
- Cracks in the skin under the earlobe
- In elbow flexures and/or hollow of the knees
- Nipple eczema
- Subtype dyshidrotic eczema
- Keratosis pilaris
- Chronic or seasonal rhinitis
- ^ Erlanger Atopy Questionnaire, original site offline, Google cache, due to be reposted at
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