AbstractWe have evaluated the fatty acid composition and the microviscosity of erythrocyte membranes from children with atopic dermatitis (AD) in the presence or absence of a positive response to some allergologic tests, and compared the results to data obtained from age-matched controls, free of atopy. Patients with AD, independent of the presence of positive allergologic tests, exhibited alterations in the fatty acid composition of erythrocyte membranes, mainly a higher content of linoleic acid and a lower content of n-6 and n-3 PUFAs with respect to controls, supporting the hypothesis that the pathogenesis of atopy involves alterations in PUFA metabolism. The molecular order of the phospholipids in the erythrocyte membranes did not differ between the groups. It is therefore reasonable to consider AD a metabolic disorder, while the associated immunological disturbances are epiphenomena.
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