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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1997 Nov;100(5):684-93.

On the allergenicity of Hev b 1 among health care workers and patients with spina bifida allergic to natural rubber latex.

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Research Institute for Occupational Medicine (BGFA), the Ruhr-University of Bochum, Germany.



Recent studies have caused much controversy about the prevalence of IgE antibodies to Hev b 1 among health care workers (HCWs) and patients with spina bifida (SB) who are allergic to latex. This investigation was carried out to verify the results reported.


Serum samples from 140 patients with SB as well as from 105 HCWs allergic to latex were tested by enzyme allergosorbest test (EAST) and EAST-inhibition assay to evaluate the rate and degree of sensitization to highly purified Hev b 1.


Eighty-one percent of patients with SB who were allergic to latex had IgE antibodies against Hev b 1. The prevalence of anti-Hev b 1 antibodies among HCWs allergic to latex was 52.3%. In 15 of 33 serum samples from patients with SB that were randomly tested, the IgE binding to commercial latex allergens could be completely inhibited by Hev b 1; in only six cases was the maximum inhibition of IgE binding to latex by Hev b 1 less than 50%. Testing two monoclonal anti-Hev b 1 antibodies with extracts of five brands of latex gloves revealed a predominant presence of Hev b 1 protein as a monomer or its aggregates. Molecular analysis of human leukocyte antigen-D region genes DRB and DQB1 suggested no statistically significant correlation between the human leukocyte antigen alleles tested and IgE responsiveness to Hev b 1.


Our results indicate that Hev b 1 not only makes significant contributions to the IgE binding to latex, but it is also the unique sensitizer in about 45% of patients with SB who are allergic to latex.

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