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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2005 Jun 15;205(3):259-70. Epub 2004 Nov 25.

Identification of contact and respiratory sensitizers using flow cytometry.

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Department of Pollutants and Health, National Institute for Research and Safety, 54501 Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy, France.


Identification of the chemicals responsible for respiratory and contact allergies in the industrial area is an important occupational safety issue. This study was conducted in mice to determine whether flow cytometry is an appropriate method to analyze and differentiate the specific immune responses to the respiratory sensitizer trimellitic anhydride (TMA) and to the contact sensitizer dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB) used at concentrations with comparable immunogenic potential. Mice were exposed twice on the flanks (days 0, 5) to 10% TMA or 1% DNCB and challenged three times on the ears (days 10, 11, 12) with 2.5% TMA or 0.25% DNCB. Flow cytometry analyses were conducted on draining lymph node cells harvested on days 13 and 18. Comparing TMA and DNCB immune responses on day 13, we found obvious differences that persisted for most of them on day 18. An increased proportion of IgE+ cells correlated to total serum IgE level and an enhancement of MHC II molecule expression were observed in the lymph node B lymphocytes from TMA-treated mice. The percentage of IL-4-producing CD4+ lymphocytes and the IL-4 receptor expression were clearly higher following TMA exposure. In contrast, higher proportions of IL-2-producing cells were detected in CD4+ and CD8+ cells from DNCB-treated mice. Both chemicals induced a significant increase in the percentage of IFN-gamma-producing cells among CD8+ lymphocytes but to a greater proportion following TMA treatment. In conclusion, this study encourages the use of flow cytometry to discriminate between contact and respiratory sensitizers by identifying divergent expression of immune response parameters.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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