Lexicon for Atopic Dermatitis

This is a lexicon for Atopic Dermatitis.
Click on a letter and discover all the related terms and their definition.

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  • Macrophages

     

    Large cells of the immune system, whose essential function is to "eat" (phagocyte) bacteria. Macrophages are thus essential to defenses against infection.
     
  • Major histocompatibility complex

     

    This is a collection of genes that control immune responses, particularly the recognition of foreign bodies and thus the rejection of transplants. It is also known as the HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) system. 
    Certain HLA markers are more common in certain diseases. For example, B27 and certain types of rheumatism. The HLA system has no major importance in atopy
    The HLA system was discovered in 1958 at the Saint-Louis hospital in Paris by Professor Jean Dausset (Nobel prize 1980)
      
     
  • Malassezia

     

    A type of microscopic fungus normally found on the skin. However it can be responsible for certain conditions, such as tinea versicolor (white or brown patches on the abdomen). 
     
  • Mastocytes or mast cells

     

    Cells found in the dermis (and other tissues). Mastocytes are special as they contain many 'granules' that are rich in substances such as histamine, which trigger allergic-type symptoms if released. For example, the red marks of urticaria are caused by a release of histamine from the mast cells in the dermis. Many mechanisms can cause this release. 
     
  • Mastocytosis

     

    A condition caused by mastocyte proliferation. This causes a certain kind of skin lesion, and in rare cases, lesions of the bone or digestive system. 
     
  • Maternalized formula

     

    Artificial milk for infants are most commonly based on cow's milk. The proteins and lipids (fats) in these milks are different to those found in maternal milk, and this can cause intolerances. The chemical composition of maternalized milk is much closer to that of maternal milk.
    The milk used should not be low-fat, unless recommended by a doctor. 
    In atopic dermatitis, trials on milks containing proteins from hydrolyzed cow’s milk (cut into small fragments in order to be better absorbed) have been carried out. The results are not yet conclusive.
     
  • Microbial colonization

     

    As the skin is contact with the outside world, it is not sterile, but in fact home to many species of bacteria. This is described as bacterial colonization. This is normal, and does not constitute an infection. The skin of atopy patients is often colonized with many more staphylococcus aureus than are found in non-atopic subjects. This may result in real infections, but this is rare. 
    The digestive system is also colonized by bacteria which have an important physiological role in digestion and immune defense. 
     
  • Mites

    Mites are small microscopic parasites, widespread in our environment: mattresses, curtains, rugs, stuffed toys …
    They are highly involved in respiratory diseases, but also in skin and eye disorders.

  • Molluscum contagiosum

     

    Molluscum contagiosum appears as small, bead-like lesions, with a depressed center. They are benign and common in children. They are caused by viruses and as their name indicates, they are contagious, both from one part to another of the same child as well as between children. Molluscum contagiosum is always benign; even if the lesions spread, they heal independently without leaving a scar. This should be considered when treating them. It is usually pointless to remove them "aggressively".
     
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