In vitro evaluation of IgE-mediated hypersensitivity reactions to quinolones


  • Edited by: Pascal Demoly

Maria José Torres Jaén, Carlos Haya Hospital (Pabellon C), Allergy Service, Plaza del Hospital Civil s/n, pabellón 5 sótano, 29009 Malaga, Spain.
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To cite this article: Aranda A, Mayorga C, Ariza A, Doña I, Rosado A, Blanca-Lopez N, Andreu I, Torres MJ. In vitro evaluation of IgE-mediated hypersensitivity reactions to quinolones. Allergy 2011; 66: 247–254.


Background:  Hypersensitivity IgE-mediated reactions to quinolones are not easy to diagnose, with skin testing inducing false positive results. The aim of the study was to evaluate the in vitro-specific IgE response in patients with immediate allergic reactions to quinolones.

Methods:  We evaluated 38 patients with confirmed immediate allergic reactions to quinolones. Those with anaphylaxis were considered allergic by clinical history, once other possible causes were ruled out, and those with urticaria by drug provocation. Sepharose-radioimmunoassay (RIA) and basophil activation test (BAT) with ciprofloxacin, moxifloxacin and levofloxacin were performed.

Results:  The quinolones involved were moxifloxacin (N = 24), ciprofloxacin (N = 11) and levofloxacin (N = 3). Sepharose-RIA was positive in 12 cases (31.57%) and BAT in 27 (71.05%). With Sepharose-RIA, 8 (21%) were positive to ciprofloxacin, 7 (18.4%) to moxifloxacin and 7 (18.4%) to levofloxacin. With BAT, 23 (60.5%) were positive to ciprofloxacin, 12 (31.6%) to moxifloxacin and 8 (21%) to levofloxacin. The specificity of the Sepharose-RIA was demonstrated by inhibition tests. To confirm that the BAT results observed were IgE mediated, the PI3K inhibitor wortmannin was used, with this compound inhibiting the BAT when stimulated with anti-IgE and the different quinolones, but not when fMLP was used as the basophil stimulator. Sepharose-RIA and BAT were repeated in positive cases 1 year later, detecting a decrease in all cases, with four becoming negative.

Conclusion:  Immediate hypersensitivity reactions to quinolones do occur, with moxifloxacin being the drug most frequently involved. The BAT is a useful method for diagnosing patients. Specific IgE was demonstrated by Sepharose-RIA and inhibition assay.