Get access

IL-13: a marker of chromium contact allergy


  • Conflict of interest

  • Statement of funding sources
    All resources used in this study were obtained from the authors and the institution where the work was done.

L.E.A.M. Martins.


Background  Allergic contact dermatitis is a frequent, often disabling disease caused by countless substances. Patch testing remains the gold standard test to identify the causative agent; however, it is subjective, time-consuming and not completely safe. Alternative methods were tried, but significant success has only been achieved with nickel.

Objective  Develop an alternative or complementary allergic contact dermatitis diagnostic test.

Methods  We compared the lymphocyte proliferative rate and cytokine production (IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, IL-12, IL-13, IL-17 and RANTES) between 18 chromium allergic patients and 19 controls.

Results  The lymphocyte proliferation test and some of the cytokines tested (IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-5, IL-12 and IL-13) were able to discriminate allergic patients. However, striking results were only achieved using IL-13, leading to an accuracy of about 90%.

Conclusions  If further studies confirm the data found, IL-13 could be used as an alternative or complementary test to detect chromium contact allergy whereas lymphocyte proliferation test, IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-5 and IL-12 detections may serve as additional diagnostic tests.