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Keywords:

  • aryl amines;
  • acetylator phenotype;
  • acetylator genotype;
  • allergic contact dermatitis;
  • genetic susceptibilty;
  • molecular epidemiology;
  • clinical epidemiology

We investigated whether patients with contact allergy differed from non-contact-allergic, non-atopic controls with regard to genotype and phenotype of the polymorphic enzyme N-acetyltransferase 2 (NAT2). 55 contact-allergic patients recruited from the Information Network of Departments of Dermatology (IVDK) were compared to 85 controls from among local health care personnel. NAT2 activity was calculated from HPLC analysis of the ratio of the caffeine metabolites 5-acetylamino-6-formylamino-3-methyluracil (AFMU) and 1-methylxanthine (1MX) in the urine. NAT2 genotype was determined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). A statistically significantly increased proportion of rapid acetylators was found in contact-allergic patients. This may have 2 possible implications: acetylation may enhance contact sensitization; or NAT2 status may be a genetic marker for contact sensitizability.