Atopic Dermatitis in Animals and People: An Update and Comparative Review
Lipids have become an important target for searching new biomarkers typical of different autoimmune and allergic diseases. The most common allergic dermatitis of the horse is related to stings of insects and is known as insect bite hypersensitivity (IBH) or summer eczema, referring to its recurrence during the summer months. This intense pruritus has certain similarities with atopic dermatitis of humans. The treatment of IBH is difficult and therefore new strategies for therapy are needed. Autoserum therapy based on the use of serum phospholipids has recently been introduced for horses. So far, serum lipids relating to these allergic disorders have been poorly determined. The main aim of this study was to analyse phospholipid profiles in the sera of horses with allergic dermatitis and in their healthy controls and to further assess whether these lipid profiles change according to the clinical status after therapy. Sera were collected from 10 horses with allergic dermatitis and from 10 matched healthy controls both before and 4 weeks after the therapy of the affected horses. Eczema horses were treated with an autogenous preparation made from a horse’s own serum and used for oral medication. Samples were analysed for their phospholipid content by liquid chromatography coupled to a triple-quadrupole mass spectrometer (LC-MS). Data of phospholipid concentrations between the groups and over the time were analysed by using the Friedman test. Correlations between the change of concentrations and the clinical status were assessed by Spearman’s rank correlation test. The major phospholipid classes detected were phosphatidylcholine (PC), sphingomyelin (SM), phosphatidylinositol (PI) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE). Eczema horses had significantly lower total concentrations of PC (p < 0.0001) and SM (p = 0.0115) than their healthy controls. After a 4-week therapy, no significant differences were found between the groups. Changes in SM concentrations correlated significantly with alterations in clinical signs (p = 0.0047). Horses with allergic dermatitis have an altered phospholipid profile in their sera as compared with healthy horses and these profiles seem to change according to their clinical status. Sphingomyelin seems to have an active role in the course of equine insect bite hypersensitivity.