Background House dust mites (HDMs) represent significant indoor allergen sources for patients with atopic dermatitis (AD). Subcutaneous allergen-specific immunotherapy (SCIT) has been shown to be successful in patients with allergic rhinitis and mild asthma and might represent an attractive therapeutic option for the long-term treatment of HDM sensitizations in AD patients. However, only a few studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of HDM SCIT in AD, resulting in controversial clinical results. Data on immunological changes induced by SCIT in AD patients are rare.
Objectives We performed an open pilot study to assess clinical changes and objective laboratory parameters and evaluate the benefit of HDM SCIT in 25 AD patients with IgE-mediated sensitization against HDM.
Methods The severity of AD was evaluated by the severity scoring of atopic dermatitis system (SCORAD). Specific IgE and IgG4 against HDM and serum levels of TARC/CCL17, MDC/CCL22, IL-16, IL-4, IFN-γ, IL-10 and TGF-β1 were measured during SCIT.
Results Subjective and objective SCORAD improved significantly within only 4 weeks of treatment. The level of the tolerogenic cytokine IL-10 increased, whereas CCL17 and IL-16 decreased in the sera of the patients during SCIT. Allergen specific IgE decreased, while IgG4 increased during SCIT.
Conclusion In this open-label pilot study, SCIT with an HDM extract in patients with AD led to a significant improvement of AD mirrored by a reduction of SCORAD as well as serological and immunological changes, which might serve as valuable parameters to estimate the therapeutic effect of SCIT.