Plasma tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) was measured in 15 children with atopic dermatitis, 13 children with bronchial asthma, and 11 healthy controls. Plasma TNF-alpha concentration was increased in atopic dermatitis and the magnitude of the increase was correlated with the severity of the dermatitis but TNF-alpha concentration was not increased in bronchial asthma. A significant correlation was found between plasma TNF-alpha and plasma histamine concentrations in atopic dermatitis. The data suggest that the overproduction of TNF-alpha is associated with increased plasma histamine concentration, and might play a part in the pathophysiological mechanism of atopic dermatitis.
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