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Contact Dermatitis. 2000 Dec;43(6):351-8.

Identification of Lilial as a fragrance sensitizer in a perfume by bioassay-guided chemical fractionation and structure-activity relationships.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Dermatochimie, Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France.


Fragrance materials are among the most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis. The aim of this study was to identify in a perfume fragrance allergens not included in the fragrance mix, by use of bioassay-guided chemical fractionation and chemical analysis/structure-activity relationships (SARs). The basis for the investigation was a 45-year-old woman allergic to her own perfume. She had a negative patch test to the fragrance mix and agreed to participate in the study. Chemical fractionation of the perfume concentrate was used for repeated patch testing and/or repeated open application test on the pre-sensitized patient. The chemical composition of the fractions giving a positive patch-test response and repeated open application test reactions was obtained by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. From the compounds identified, those that contained a "structural alert" in their chemical structure, indicating an ability to modify skin proteins and thus behave as a skin sensitizer, were tested on the patient. The patient reacted positively to the synthetic fragrance p-t-butyl-alpha-methylhydrocinnamic aldehyde (Lilial), a widely used fragrance compound not present in the fragrance mix. The combination of bioassay-guided chemical fractionation and chemical analysis/structure-activity relationships seems to be a valuable tool for the investigation of contact allergy to fragrance materials.

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