Is chronic urticaria more than skin deep?

Clin Transl Allergy. 2019 Sep 25:9:48. doi: 10.1186/s13601-019-0287-2. eCollection 2019.


Chronic urticaria is a disease characterized by the appearance of weals, angioedema or both longer than 6 weeks. Degranulation of cutaneous or submucosal mast cells leads to release of mediators including histamine resulting in redness, swelling and itch. Because mast cells are widely distributed throughout the body, the question is why they are not activated systemically or does systemic activation occur without overt end organ dysfunction? We have conducted an exploratory literature search for reports that have evidence of organ-specific dysfunction in chronic urticaria that might justify prospective observational studies. This search revealed some evidence of systemic effects of chronic urticaria in cardiac, respiratory, gastrointestinal, central nervous and musculo-skeletal systems. The relevance of these findings needs to be further determined. However, they justify prospective studies in larger numbers of patients and at different stages of disease activity.

Keywords: Brain; Cardiac; Gastrointestinal; Organ involvement; Respiratory; Systemic findings; Urticaria.

Publication types

  • Review