Purpose: Exotoxin secreted by Staphylococcus aureus has been identified as a possible trigger factor in atopic dermatitis(AD). We investigated the production and the role of circulating antibodies with specificity to staphylococcal enterotoxin B(SEB) in children with AD, and compared with those of healthy controls. Methods: Forty children with AD and 40 nonatopic healthy children were studied. The severity was determined by the criteria of Rajka. The serum levels of specific
antibodies(IgG, IgM, IgE) against SEB were determined by ELISA. The levels and positive rates were compared between the two groups. The correlation between the levels of specific antibodies and the severity of AD or their ages was studied.
Results: The children with AD had significantly higher levels of serum SEB specific IgG(P=0.0193), IgM(P=0.011) and IgE(P=0.0001) than the nonatopic children. The proportions of children with AD showing positive to IgG, IgM and IgE were 52.5%(21/40), 62.5%(25/40) and 67.5%(27/40), respectively. The levels of SEB-specific IgE were correlated with the severity of AD(P=0.0004), but no such correlation was seen with IgG or IgM. Conclusion: SEB may be involved in exacerbation of AD.
The SEB-specific IgE may be an important index of the clinical severity of AD. The SEB-specific IgG or IgM may be produced during the exposure to the SEB antigen, but may not be protective against SEB in AD.