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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1992 Mar;89(3):759-68.

Latex-specific proteins causing immediate-type cutaneous, nasal, bronchial, and systemic reactions.

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  • 1Department of Allergology, Stuttgart Bad Cannstadt, Germany.


We examined 70 patients reporting hypersensitivity reactions caused by latex articles. All patients suffered from urticaria, 36 from rhinitis, 31 from conjunctivitis, 22 from dyspnea, and 17 from systemic reactions, and four patients developed severe systemic complications during surgery. By means of inhalative challenge tests with powdered latex gloves, it could be demonstrated that the glove powder (cornstarch) obviously functions as a carrier for latex allergens, which then become airborne. Five of 18 patients undergoing such challenge tests demonstrated a significant increase of specific airway resistance; 17, acute rhinitis and/or conjunctivitis; and two, a systemic reaction. Sixty-two percent of the patients demonstrated specific IgE antibodies to natural latex, 58% to an irradiatively cross-linked, so-called, "hypoallergenic" latex preparation, and 46% to commercial-latex RAST disks (Pharmacia). No specific antibodies to cornstarch or a mixture of rubber chemicals were found. A good correlation (82%) exists between latex IgE RAST and latex skin prick test, as revealed in a subgroup of 45 subjects. By means of sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, the latex allergen appears to be a mixture of proteins in a molecular weight range from 10 to 67 kd.

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