Skin prick tests with Malassezia

Positive skin prick tests with Malassezia extracts were found in a range between 13.5-79% of patients with AD (Table 7.2). Only a minority of patients without AD, including patients with Malassezia-related skin diseases like seborrhoeic dermatitis, were sensitized.

Immediate-type sensitization to Malassezia species is therefore almost exclusively found in patients with AD. Nevertheless the concentration of these yeasts was found to be higher on the skin of healthy volunteers and patients with skin diseases other than AD. This indicates that Malassezia itself is not a pathogen in AD, but the interaction of microorganisms with the immune system of patients with AD may be altered. Barrier destruction may be a primary defect of the AD skin and thus may enhance the penetration of yeast allergens through the skin. Therefore a skin barrier defect may be responsible for sensitization to this species of microorganisms which belongs to the normal skin flora.

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