Atopic and Non-atopic Eczema

Acta Dermatovenerol Croat. 2016 Jun;24(2):110-5.


Atopic dermatitis is a common term used in the medical literature, but according to The Nomenclature Review Committee Of The World Allergy Organization the name which should be used is eczema. Eczema is divided into two subtypes: atopic and non-atopic. These subtypes differ in the level of total immunoglobulin E (IgE) in serum, response to allergens in skin prick tests, and detection of specific IgE antibodies. Non-atopic eczema is characterized by a low level of total IgE, negative skin prick tests, and undetectable specific IgE antibodies. It is estimated that 10-45% cases of eczema are non-atopic ones. In recent studies, other features differentiating these two subtypes have been identified, such as female predominance in non-atopic eczema. A more severe course, damage of the epidermal barrier, predominance of Th2 (T helper cells 2) response, and a lower positive reaction to metal patch tests are the characteristics of the atopic subtype. In our opinion, new diagnostic criteria taking into account the non-atopic subtype of eczema need to be established.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dermatitis, Atopic / diagnosis*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / etiology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Eczema / diagnosis*
  • Eczema / etiology
  • Eczema / therapy
  • Humans