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Severe Atopic Dermatitis and Transient Hypogammaglobulinemia in Children


Address correspondence to Audrey S. Wang, M.D., Department of Dermatology, University of California, Davis 3301 C Street, Suite 1400, Sacramento, CA 95816, or e-mail: or


Abstract:  We sought to describe the clinical outcomes of eight pediatric patients diagnosed with atopic dermatitis (AD) and hypogammaglobulinemia through retrospective review of medical records. All patients presented with severe facial AD. The mean and median ages of diagnosis of hypogammaglobulinemia were 6.2 months and 6.5 months, respectively, with a mean immunoglobulin G (IgG) level of 156 mg/dL. Seven of the eight patients identified in our search demonstrated simultaneous improvement in AD and serum IgG levels within 2 years of initial presentation, suggesting a diagnosis of transient hypogammaglobulinemia. The remaining patient demonstrated normalization by age 6, but no IgG levels had been measured between initial presentation and age 6. The five patients who were tested for specific antibody response to tetanus and Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccination all produced protective responses. All eight patients initially presented with high serum IgE levels. On initial evaluation, three patients had leukocytosis (white blood cell count >18,000 cells/μL), and six had peripheral blood eosinophilia. Three patients outgrew their AD by age 5, and five had clinically good to excellent control of their AD at their last visit, coincident with normalization of IgG levels. Although severe AD and immunoglobulin deficiency may rarely be associated with complex immunodeficiency disorders, our observations suggest that, with careful immunologic monitoring and diligent skin care, most children who present with severe AD and hypogammaglobulinemia exhibit improvement in dermatitis and serum IgG levels within 2 years of onset without major complications.