• atopic dermatitis;
  • Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus;
  • house dust mite;
  • patch test;
  • prick test;
  • radioallergosorbent test

Several studies, in particular in adult groups, have evaluated the involvement of mites in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis (AD). This still remains controversial. The objective of this study was to determine the level of house dust mites (HDMs) in the beds of a group of children with AD and correlate these levels with their allergometric assessment. Forty-one children with AD underwent allergometric tests (prick test, patch test and radioallergosorbent test, RAST) and the concentration levels of HDMs in their homes were evaluated. Our data show that about half of the children (51%) with AD presented Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus positivity (prick test and/or RAST and/or patch test). Dust was collected in the period October–November from the children's beds, by the same two operators, using a dust-collection device. The dust mite level was tested by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with antibody against Der p 1 allergen. Ten children (24%) presented a Der p 1 concentration > 2 μg/g of dust (the value assumed to be a risk level for sensitization), 20 (49%) between 0.1 and 2 μg/g and 11 (27%) < 0.1 μg/g of dust. In the group with the highest Der p 1 concentration (> 2 μg/g dust) nine children (90%) presented an allergometric D. pteronyssinus sensitivity, the difference with the other two groups being statistically significant at < 0.018. The results of the present study show that the highest HDM concentrations were observed in the group with an allergometric D. pteronyssinus positivity (prick test and/or RAST and/or patch test). It is hypothesized that a higher HDM concentration may elicit D. pteronyssinus IgE sensitization and delayed hypersensitivity in children with AD.