First-Ever Molecular Study Shows African American Skin Reacts Differently to AD

Friday, September 14, 2018 | Atopic Dermatitis , Skin of Color , Research and Publications

African Americans are known to have greater treatment challenges with atopic dermatitis than European Americans and require higher doses of some medications to get relief, and now a new study suggests that differences in the molecular profile of their skin may be the reason.

About 19 percent of African Americans and 16 percent of European Americans are diagnosed with AD. The new study, which appears in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, is the first molecular study of the skin of African Americans with AD.

“This study looked for differences in the molecular profile of the skin of African Americans with AD compared to the skin of European Americans with AD to determine if there are differences that might improve treatment options for African Americans,” says study author Emma Guttman-Yassky, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Dermatology and Immunology at Icahn Medical School at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, in a news release. “The results indicated that the immune profile was more unbalanced in African Americans with AD compared to European Americans,” she says.

“Our study found there are significant differences in the skin of people with AD than in those without the condition. Furthermore, we found African Americans with AD have more inflammation than European Americans with the condition,” says Dr. Guttman-Yassky.

“This may prove to be a valuable enhancement for treatment options for African Americans with AD,” says allergist Donald Leung, MD, PhD, executive editor of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “It will also reinforce the importance of racial diversity in clinical research studies for effective treatment for AD.” 


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