Interpretations and Applications in the Filaggrin Era
Aim. The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review of population-based twin studies of (a) the concordance and heritability of AD and (b) the relationship between AD and asthma and, furthermore, to reinterpret findings from previous twin studies in the light of the emerging knowledge about filaggrin and its role in the atopic march and provide suggestions for future research in this area. Methods. We identified all twin studies (published after 1970) that have calculated the concordance rate and/or the heritability of AD, or the genetic and environmental correlations between AD and asthma. Results. Reported concordance rates for AD ranged, respectively. From 0.15 to 0.86 for MZ and from 0.05 to 0.41 for DZ twins, with an overall ratio of MZ : DZ twins of approximately three. The heritability of AD was estimated to be approximately 75%, and the association between AD and asthma was around 85% explained by genetic pleiotropy. Conclusions. Genetic factors account for most of the variability in AD susceptibility and for the association between AD and asthma. Controversy remains as to whether the atopic diseases are causally related or whether they are diverse clinical manifestations of a common, underlying (genetic) disease trait. Future twin studies may help solve this enigma.