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J Toxicol Sci. 2004 May;29(2):147-54.

Studies on experimental iodine allergy: 3. Low molecular weight elicitogenic antigens of iodine allergy.

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  • 1Department of Drug Safety Research, Eisai Tsukuba Research Laboratories, Eisai Co., Ltd., 5-1-3 Tohkodai, Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki 300-2635, Japan.


We hypothesize that iodine allergy is an immune response to iodinated self proteins produced in vivo from various iodine-containing chemicals. Since an antigenic determinant of experimental iodine allergy is diiodotyrosine (DIT), we designed low molecular weight DIT derivatives having provocative antigenicity without sensitizing immunogenicity. Tetraiododityrosine and hexaiodotrityrosine provoked dose-dependent skin reactions in guinea pigs previously immunized with iodine. No guinea pigs immunized with hexaiodotrityrosine showed anaphylactic reaction by i.v. challenge with hexaiodotrityrosine and none of their antisera showed positive passive cutaneous anaphylaxis (PCA) reaction in guinea pigs, indicating the non-immunogenic nature of the compound. Erythrosine, one of the color additives having a structure common with DIT, was assessed for its immunological property. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) inhibition studies on erythrosine revealed that the inhibitory activity of erythrosine was stronger than that of DIT. Furthermore, erythrosine provoked a PCA reaction in animals sensitized with anti-iodine antisera. In conclusion, hexaiodotrityrosine is thought to be useful for skin testing of iodine allergy without any fear of sensitization to the allergen. Erythrosine was shown to provoke an experimental iodine allergy and, also, the relationships between the new concept of iodine allergy and features of clinical findings of adverse effects by iodocontrast media are discussed.

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