How the environmental factors contribute to the increase in allergic disease are being elucidated. Laundry-detergent that contains cytotoxic ingredients including microbial enzymes consistently contact with the skin starting in infancy, which may impair skin barrier resulting in systemic sensitization to allergens that enter through the impaired skin barrier.
BALB/c wild type mice (1) skin samples expose in vitro to microbial proteases or laundry detergent. (2) epicutaneously exposed to laundry detergent and ovalbumin (OVA).
Murine skin samples exposed in vitro to microbial proteases or laundry detergent exhibited physical damage, which was more pronounced in neonatal skin as compared to adult skin and resulted in an increase in levels of interleukin (IL)-33 and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP). Murine epicutaneously exposed to laundry detergent and ovalbumin (OVA) showed an increase in levels of transepidermal water loss, serum OVA-specific IgG1 and IgE, and a local increase of Il33, Tslp, Il4 and Il13. Following intranasal challenge with OVA, mice epicutaneously exposed to laundry detergent showed an increase in allergen-induced esophageal eosinophilia.
Laundry detergent may be an important environmental factor that impairs the skin-barrier and leads to allergen sensitization in early life therefore plays a role in the increase in allergic disease.