25. Immunopharmacological Mechanisms in Atopic Dermatitis

  1. Alan D. Irvine MD, FRCPI, FRCP2,3,
  2. Peter H. Hoeger MD4,5 and
  3. Albert C. Yan MD, FAAP, FAAD6,7
  1. Clive B. Archer BSc, MBBS, MSc Med Ed, MD, PhD (Lond), FRCP (Edin, Lond)

Published Online: 24 MAY 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444345384.ch25

Harper's Textbook of Pediatric Dermatology, Volume 1, 2, Third Edition

Harper's Textbook of Pediatric Dermatology, Volume 1, 2, Third Edition

How to Cite

Archer, C. B. (2011) Immunopharmacological Mechanisms in Atopic Dermatitis, in Harper's Textbook of Pediatric Dermatology, Volume 1, 2, Third Edition (eds A. D. Irvine, P. H. Hoeger and A. C. Yan), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444345384.ch25

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

  2. 3

    Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

  3. 4

    University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

  4. 5

    Catholic Children's Hospital Wilhelmstift, Hamburg, Germany

  5. 6

    University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA

  6. 7

    The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Author Information

  1. St John's Institute of Dermatology, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, King's College London, London, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 MAY 2011
  2. Published Print: 3 JUN 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405176958

Online ISBN: 9781444345384



  • atopic dermatitis;
  • immunopharmacological;
  • cell regulatory mechanisms;
  • cyclic AMP;
  • inflammatory mediators;
  • cytokines;
  • epidermal barrier dysfunction


There are a number of altered in vivo physiological and pharmacological responses in atopic dermatitis, but one should take care not to overinterpret findings that are sometimes non-specific. It has long been understood that cyclic nucleotides play an important role in cell regulation and that cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) is a modulator of inflammation and immune responses. The relative roles of inflammatory mediators, cytokines and abnormal cell regulatory mechanisms in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis are discussed. Preventive treatment of atopic dermatitis comprises daily emollient therapy. Most patients require treatment with topical corticosteroids and/or topical calcineurin inhibitors, and topical therapies are being developed to improve epidermal barrier dysfunction. There remains a need to develop safer anti-inflammatory medications. There is no shortage of potential targets for drug therapy in atopic dermatitis.