Subjects with atopic dermatitis and autoimmune disorders share some similar immune response disorders. The aim of this study was to see whether subjects with early onset atopic dermatitis run a risk of eventually developing autoimmune diseases. The results of a questionnaire of 145 adolescents (70 f, 75 m, mean age 18.2 years, range 16-23 years) was compared with those of a group of 262 controls (112 f, 150 m, mean age 17.5 years, range 16-21 years), 164 of whom reported no atopic symptoms and were treated as a separate group for statistical analysis. As compared with the non-atopic controls, the study group subjects showed a significantly increased incidence of autoimmune disorders (9% vs. 1%), the relative risk ratio of a subject with infantile onset atopic eczema getting a gastrointestinal (GI) immune-mediated disease being 2.4 (CI(95)2.1-2.8) and of getting some other autoimmune disorder 3.1 (CI(95)2.8-9.7). The positive skin prick tests showed a negative association with the manifestation of a GI or other autoimmune disorder. The subjects with infantile dermatitis also reported recurrent abdominal pains (23% vs. 15%), and milk-induced gastrointestinal symptoms (19% vs. 10%) significantly more even as young adults than the controls. Our study showed that infantile atopy increases a predisposition to autoimmune disorders, suggesting that these two entities might have a common immunological determinant. While a high incidence of chronic GI complaints among the study subjects suggests the ongoing activity of local immune responses. However, more detailed prospective studies are needed to confirm these observations.