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Anesthesiology. 2005 Mar;102(3):496-502.

Genetic predisposition to latex allergy: role of interleukin 13 and interleukin 18.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.



Occupational exposure of healthcare workers to natural rubber latex has led to sensitization and potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis. Although environmental exposure to natural rubber latex products is necessary for sensitization, it is not sufficient. A number of genetic factors also seem to contribute to the latex sensitization; however, the multigenic nature of the allergic phenotype has made the identification of susceptibility genes difficult. The current study tests the hypothesis that known functional polymorphisms in genes encoding interleukin 4, interleukin 13, and interleukin 18 occur in a higher frequency in healthcare workers with natural rubber latex allergy.


Four hundred thirty-two healthcare workers with occupational exposure to natural rubber latex were screened using a clinical history questionnaire and latex-specific immunoglobulin E serology. Genomic DNA was extracted from peripheral blood lymphocytes and analyzed for single-nucleotide polymorphisms in candidate genes of interest. Data from cases and controls were analyzed by nominal logistic regression, with P < 0.05 considered significant.


The latex allergy phenotype was significantly associated with promoter polymorphisms in IL13 -1055 (P = 0.02), IL18 -607 (P = 0.02), and IL18 -656 (P = 0.02) compared with nonatopic controls.


The significant association of IL13 and IL18 promoter polymorphisms with latex allergy suggests a potential location for genetic control in the induction of latex allergy in individuals and extends the understanding of the genetic basis for the induction of immediate-type hypersensitivity in healthcare workers occupationally exposed to natural rubber latex.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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