Prevalence of Atopic Disorders and Immunodeficiency in Patients with Ectodermal Dysplasia Syndromes

June 6, 2012



Ectodermal dysplasia (ED) syndromes are a diverse group of disorders that affect multiple ectodermally derived tissues. Small studies and case reports suggest an increase in atopy and primary immunodeficiencies (PIDs) among patients with ED syndromes.


To determine the prevalence of clinical symptoms suggestive of atopy or immunodeficiency among a large cohort of children with ED syndromes.


A 9-page questionnaire was mailed to families who were members of the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias. The surveys were completed by parents of children younger than 18 years with a diagnosis of an ED syndrome or carrier state. Portions of the questionnaire were adapted from previously validated questionnaires developed by the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC).


We received 347 completed questionnaires (41%). When compared with the 13- to 14-year-old children surveyed by ISAAC, we found both all-aged and age-matched children with ED syndromes, respectively, had significantly higher rates of asthma (32.2% and 37.2% vs 16.4%), rhinitis symptoms (76.1% and 78.3% vs 38.9%), and eczema (58.9% and 48.9% vs 8.2%). The prevalence of physician-diagnosed food allergies (20.7%) and PIDs (6.1%) in these ED patients also exceeded known rates in the general pediatric population.


This large-scale, retrospective study demonstrates a greater reported prevalence of symptoms suggestive of atopic disorders and PIDs among children with ED syndromes than the general pediatric population. A combination of genetic and environmental factors in ED syndromes may contribute to breaches of skin and mucosal barriers, permitting enhanced transmission and sensitization to irritants, allergens, and pathogens.


Mark BJ, Becker BA, Halloran DR, Bree AF, Sindwani R, Fete MD, Motil KJ, Srun SW, Fete TJ.


Department of Pediatrics, Saint Louis University, St Louis, Missouri.

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