Continuing Medical Education

Aetiopathogenesis of atopic dermatitis

H F Jordaan, G Todd, W Sinclair, R J Green


The aetiopathogenesis of atopic dermatitis (AD) is complex and during recent years much has been learnt regarding the genetic predisposition to the development of this condition and how its interaction with the environment influences clinical manifestations. AD is not a simple allergic condition. An inherited stratum corneum barrier defect, transepidermal water loss, early antigen exposure through the skin and over-hygienic care of the young child seem to be the major drivers in the manifestation of the disease. Many other, more specific, environmental factors may influence the clinical picture in individual patients; some of these have an allergic basis, while others do not.

In this article, the terminology used in this issue of CME is explained, the evidence for the different aetiopathological factors is presented and the factors that worsen or improve AD are listed.


Authors' affiliations

H F Jordaan, Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

G Todd, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

W Sinclair, Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

R J Green, Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Full Text



Atopic dermatitis

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2014;104(10):706-709. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.8840

Article History

Date submitted: 2014-08-20
Date published: 2014-08-22

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