Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a multifaceted disease resulting from a complex interaction between environmental and genetic factors. Both of these factors can shape skin barrier function and the immunological response of predisposed patients. There is increasing evidence that an impaired skin barrier plays a role in both human and canine AD. Although many primary skin barrier defects had already been documented in the past in humans, the recent identification of the filaggrin mutations and the fact that such mutations are now considered the most important risk factor for development of AD have further emphasized the relevance of epidermal dysfunction in human AD. Much less is known in veterinary medicine, but evidence is rapidly building to support a role for skin barrier dysfunction in canine AD. Canine AD shares many clinical and immunological similarities with its human counterpart. The similar distribution of clinical lesions and the importance of the epicutaneous route of allergen exposure provided the incentive to investigate the role of skin barrier impairments in canine AD. The purpose of this comparative review is to present the current evidence of barrier dysfunction in both human and canine AD.
© 2011 The Authors. Veterinary Dermatology. © 2011 ESVD and ACVD.