What is the pathophysiology of seborrheic dermatitis?

Updated: Nov 13, 2020
  • Author: Marc Zachary Handler, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Answer

Seborrheic dermatitis is associated with normal levels of Malassezia but an abnormal immune response. Helper T cells, phytohemagglutinin and concanavalin stimulation, and antibody titers are depressed compared with those of control subjects. Zani et al report that even with antifungal treatments, there was no reduction in levels of Malassezia. [23] The contribution of Malassezia species to seborrheic dermatitis may come from its lipase activity—releasing inflammatory free fatty acids—and from its ability to activate the alternative complement pathway. [24]


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