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Papers of the Week

Papers: 9 Sep 2023 - 15 Sep 2023

Basic Science

Human Studies, Medical Devices, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology, Pharmacology/Drug Development

Inflammation/Inflammatory, Itch

2023 Aug 22

Diagnostics (Basel)




Ultra-High Frequency UltraSound (UHFUS) Assessment of Barrier Function in Moderate-to-Severe Atopic Dermatitis during Dupilumab Treatment.


Dini V, Iannone M, Michelucci A, Manzo Margiotta F, Granieri G, Salvia G, Oranges T, Janowska A, Morganti R, Romanelli M


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic multifactorial inflammatory disease characterized by intense itching and inflammatory eczematous lesions. Biological disease-modifying drugs, such as dupilumab are recommended for patients with moderate-to-severe AD, refractory to systemic immunosuppressive therapies. Disease monitoring is performed by clinical scores. Since 1970, however, the use of ultrasound and particularly high-frequency ultrasound (HFUS), has identified alterations in dermal echogenicity, called the subepidermal low-echogenic band (SLEB), that correlates with disease severity and response to treatment. We enrolled 18 patients with moderate-to-severe AD, divided into two groups: twelve patients in the dupilumab treatment (Group A) and six patients in standard treatment, from February 2019 to November 2019. We performed ultra-high frequency ultrasound (UHFUS) evaluation of lesional and non-lesional skin, focusing on SLEB average thicknesses measurement, epidermal thickness, and vascular signal in correlation with objective disease scores (EASI, IGA), patient’s reported scores (Sleep Quality NRS and Itch NRS), and TEWL and corneometry at baseline (T0), after 1 month (T1) and 2 months (T2). The SLEB average thickness measurement, vascular signal, and epidermal thickness showed a statistically significant reduction in lesional skin of the biological treatment group and no significant reduction in non-lesional skin in both groups. In the lesional skin of the standard treatment group, only epidermal thickness showed a statistically significant reduction. Our study demonstrates that SLEB measurement, vascular signals, and epidermal thickness could be used as objective parameters in monitoring the AD treatment response, while the presence of SLEB in non-lesional skin could be used as a marker of subclinical inflammation and could predict development of clinical lesions, suggesting a pro-active therapy. Further follow-up and research are needed to clarify the association of SLEB decrease/disappearance with a reduction of flares/prolongment of the disease remission time.