Null mutations in the filaggrin gene (FLG) determine major susceptibility to early-onset atopic dermatitis that persists into adulthood

J Invest Dermatol. 2007 Mar;127(3):564-7. doi: 10.1038/sj.jid.5700587. Epub 2006 Sep 21.


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common disease with a complex etiology in childhood and adult life. A significant proportion of childhood AD is transient, but in many cases it persists into adulthood. We have recently shown that null mutations in the filaggrin gene (FLG) are an important predisposing factor for childhood eczema and eczema-associated asthma, but persistence to adulthood has not been analyzed. Here we studied a cohort of adult patients with persistent AD, which had been present since early childhood. In this cohort, the combined allele frequency of the two common FLG null variants was 0.270 (cf. population frequency 0.046). This represents an odds ratio of 7.7 with 95% confidence interval of 5.3-10.9 and a chi2 P-value of 1.7 x 10(-53). Our data conclusively demonstrate that identification of FLG null alleles is an indicator of a poor prognosis in AD, predisposing to a form of eczema that starts in early infancy and persists into adulthood. This study helps to further define the nature of the AD phenotype associated with FLG null alleles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alleles
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / genetics*
  • Eczema / genetics*
  • Filaggrin Proteins
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / genetics*
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prognosis


  • FLG protein, human
  • Filaggrin Proteins
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins