Background: Staphylococcus aureus plays a role in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis (AD), possibly via the expression of various virulence antigens. An altered antibody response towards these antigens might contribute to inflammation.
Objectives: To provide an overview of the varying prevalences and odds of antibody responses against S. aureus antigens in patients with AD.
Methods: Data were systematically obtained from Embase, MEDLINE, Web of Science, Scopus, Cochrane, PubMed and Google Scholar up to 12 February 2016. We selected all original observational and experimental studies assessing antistaphylococcal antibodies in serum of patients with AD. Prevalences and odds ratios (ORs) of IgE, IgG, IgM and IgA against S. aureus in patients with AD vs. healthy controls were pooled using the random-effects model. We calculated I2 statistics to assess heterogeneity and rated study quality using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale.
Results: Twenty-six articles (2369 patients) were included, of which 10 were controlled studies. Study quality was fair to poor. Patients with AD had higher prevalences of IgE against staphylococcal enterotoxin (SE)A (OR 8·37, 95% confidence interval 2·93-23·92) and SEB (OR 9·34, 95% confidence interval 3·54-24·93) compared with controls. Prevalences of antistaphylococcal IgE were 33% for SEA, 35% for SEB and 16% for toxic shock syndrome toxin-1. However, study heterogeneity and imprecision should be taken into consideration when interpreting the results. Data on IgG, IgM and IgA, as well as other antigens, are limited.
Conclusions: Patients with AD more often show an IgE antibody response directed against S. aureus superantigens than healthy controls, supporting a role for S. aureus in AD pathogenesis.
© 2017 British Association of Dermatologists.