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Keywords:

  • Arnica;
  • contact dermatitis;
  • inflammation;
  • sesquiterpene lactone

Please cite this paper as: In vitro and in vivo analysis of pro- and anti-inflammatory effects of weak and strong contact allergens. Experimental Dermatology 2010; 19: 1007–1013.

Abstract:  Inflammation is a crucial step in the development of allergic contact dermatitis. The primary contact with chemical allergens, called sensitization, and the secondary contact, called elicitation, result in an inflammatory response in the skin. The ability of contact allergens to induce allergic contact dermatitis correlates to a great extent with their inflammatory potential. Therefore, the analysis of the sensitizing potential of a putative contact allergen should include the examination of its ability and potency to cause an inflammation. In this study, we examined the inflammatory potential of different weak contact allergens and of the strong sensitizer 2,4,6-trinitrochlorobenzene (TNCB) in vitro and in vivo using the contact hypersensitivity model, the mouse model for allergic contact dermatitis. Cytokine induction was analysed by PCR and ELISA to determine mRNA and protein levels, respectively. Inflammation-dependent recruitment of skin-homing effector T cells was measured in correlation with the other methods. We show that the sensitizing potential of a contact allergen correlates with the strength of the inflammatory response. The different methods used gave similar results. Quantitative cytokine profiling may be used to determine the sensitizing potential of chemicals for hazard identification and risk assessment.