There is a link between the skin condition atopic dermatitis and asthma, and it is tied to specific genetic loci that present a risk. The Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association, where research was conducted on this disease, found seven genetic risk loci important to both diseases. The data used was collected from over 20,000 people. Atopic dermatitis has existing regions that determine the risk for the disease, which happen to also be the same regions that follow a typical allergic path that leads to asthma. The usual pattern, in which atopic dermatitis forms early in life, followed by food allergies and then asthma, is referred to as the atopic march.
In order to come to a basis for discovering the connected regions, the researchers performed a meta-analysis specific to genome-wide association studies, in which both patients and healthy individuals were compared. Within these bounds, the cases focused on individuals who developed atopic dermatitis and then asthma. The studies were concerned with Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms. Two regions in particular were most of interest, as they demonstrated the greatest connection between atopic dermatitis and asthma. It was not of great surprise that there are connections between allergic diseases, as the same genetic loci that produce certain factors should be able to cause other similar variations. If there are specific genetic loci that are associated with allergic conditions, it would make logical sense that many different expressions could result from the same area.
Being that this was one of the first research studies conducted on atopic dermatitis with a focus on genetic possibilities, it would be interesting if similar research was conducted on other related allergic diseases.