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Summary

There are at least 13 scoring systems for the assessment of disease severity in atopic dermatitis (AD). Each system has its problems with interobserver and intraobserver variability. Cutaneous T-cell attracting chemokine (CTACK) is a skin-specific chemoattractant which may correlate with AD severity and obviate the issue of observer reliability. We evaluated whether serum CTACK concentrations were associated with the severity of AD in children according to the SCORing Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) index. Thirty-seven Chinese children with AD (23 boys, 14 girls; aged 1–11 years) and 13 controls were recruited. The median (interquartile range) overall SCORAD for AD patients was 29.7 (20.3–49.7). Serum concentrations of CTACK and two other atopy-related chemokines, macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC) and thymus and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC), were measured by sandwich enzyme immunoassay. There were significant correlations between SCORAD (r = 0.394, P = 0.016), its area (r = 0.528, P = 0.001) and intensity components (r = 0.429, P = 0.008) with serum levels of CTACK. The serum concentrations of inflammatory markers MDC and TARC also correlated with the CTACK concentrations (r = 0.618, P < 0.001, and r = 0.587, P = 0.001, respectively). Serum CTACK concentration appears to be a skin-specific objective marker that correlates with various clinical and laboratory parameters of AD.