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J Immunol Methods. 2001 Nov 1;257(1-2):213-20.

Cantharidin blisters: a technique for investigating leukocyte trafficking and cytokine production at sites of inflammation in humans.

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  • 1St Mark's Hospital and Academic Institute, St Mark's Hospital, Watford Road, HA1 3UJ, Harrow, UK.


A skin blister technique is described which allows the investigation of acute inflammation in humans in vivo. Filter paper discs are placed on the skin, impregnated with cantharidin and covered with impermeable film held by adhesive tape. The assembly is easily applied, unobtrusive, stable and may be worn during normal activities. The blister formed at 24 h contains approximately 5x10(5)-5x10(6) cells, predominantly neutrophils and macrophages. Inflammatory cytokines and chemotactic factors are detectable in the blister fluid. The technique is useful for characterizing the acute inflammatory response in health and disease.

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