Infected atopic dermatitis lesions contain pharmacologic amounts of lipoteichoic acid

Jeffrey B. Travers, Amal Kozman, Nico Mousdicas, Chandan Saha, Megan Landis, Mohammed Al-Hassani, Weiguo Yao, Yongxue Yao, Ann Marie Hyatt, Michael P. Sheehan, Anita N. Haggstrom, Mark H. Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations


Background: Bacterial infection with Staphylococcus aureus is a known trigger for worsening of atopic dermatitis (AD); the exact mechanisms by which bacterial infection worsens dermatitis are unknown. Objective: We sought to characterize the amounts of the biologically active bacterial lipoprotein lipoteichoic acid (LTA) in infected AD lesions. Methods: Eighty-nine children with clinically impetiginized lesions of AD were enrolled in this study. A lesion was graded clinically by using the Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI), wash fluid obtained from the lesion for quantitative bacterial culture, and measurement of LTA and cytokines. The staphylococcal isolate was tested for antibiotic susceptibilities. The patients were treated with a regimen that included topical corticosteroids and systemic antibiotics, and the lesion was reanalyzed after 2 weeks. Results: S aureus was identified in 79 of 89 children enrolled in the study. The bacterial colony-forming unit (CFU) counts correlated with the EASI lesional score (P = .04). LTA levels as high as 9.8 μg/mL were measured in the wash fluid samples, and the amounts correlated with the lesional EASI scores (P = .01) and S aureus CFU (P < .001). Approximately 30% of clinically impetiginized AD lesions contained greater than 1 μg/mL LTA, amounts that exert effects on various cell types in vitro. Moreover, injection of skin tissue ex vivo with amounts of LTA found in AD lesions resulted in epidermal cytokine gene expression. Conclusion: Pharmacologic levels of LTA are found in many infected atopic dermatitis lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-152.e2
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • atopic dermatitis
  • IL-8
  • Lipoteichoic acid
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • TNF-α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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