Role of the Gut Microbiota in Atopic Dermatitis: A Systematic Review

Acta Derm Venereol. 2019 Jan 1;99(1):5-11. doi: 10.2340/00015555-3008.


The immune mechanisms involved in atopic dermatitis (AD) are complex and little is known about the possible role of the gut microbiota in the aetiopathogenesis of AD. A systematic review of the literature was performed according to PRISMA guidelines, and included 44 of 2,199 studies (26 observational and 18 interventional studies). Detection of gut microbiota was performed by either 16s rRNA PCR, or by culture. Observational studies were diverse regarding the age of study participants and the bacterial species investigated. Overall, the results were conflicting with regard to diversity of the gut microbiota, specific bacterial colonization, and subsequent risk of AD. Nearly half of the included interventional studies showed that an altered gut microbial colonization due to use of probiotics had a positive effect on the severity of AD. The remaining studies did not show an effect of probiotics on the severity of AD despite an alteration in the gut microbial composition. The role of the gut microbiome for the onset and severity of pre-existing AD remains controversial.

Keywords: atopicdermatitis; gut; microbiome.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / growth & development*
  • Bacteria / immunology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / epidemiology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / immunology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / microbiology*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use
  • Ribotyping
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index