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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1978 Jul;62(1):30-2.

Allergy to a product(s) of ethylene oxide gas: demonstration of IgE and IgG antibodies and hapten specificity.


Patient D.H., on chronic hemodialysis, developed severe allergic reactions after exposure to articles such as plastic tubing and hemodialysis supplies which had undergone cold sterilization with ethylene oxide (EO) gas. It was shown that human serum albumin (HSA) exposed to EO (EO-HSA) in the usual sterilization procedure selectively elicited positive skin tests and in vitro histamine release. It is now demonstrated that D.H. serum reacts selectively in a radioallergosorbent test (RAST) which utilizes discs coated with HSA and exposed to EO gas. In addition, D.H. serum contained IgG antibodies reactive with EO-HSA. This antibody activity was not detected in the sera of 27 normal subjects and 25 chronic hemodialysis patients. EO-HSA and ragweed RAST inhibition tests with a number of proteins in native form and after exposure to EO demonstrated the EO hapten specificity of the IgE antibody.

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