Differential stimulation of immune function by respiratory and contact chemical allergens

R. J. Dearman, I. Kimber

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The nature of immune responses induced following topical exposure to 2,4-dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB), a potent contact allergen which lacks the capacity to cause respiratory sensitization, and trimellitic anhydride (TMA), a respiratory allergen with comparatively weak skin-sensitizing potential, have been investigated. Exposure of BALB/c strain mice to concentrations of TMA and DNCB which resulted in equivalent levels of activation (cell proliferation) in lymph nodes draining the site of application (50% TMA and 1% DNCB) induced comparable levels of contact sensitization and IgG anti-hapten antibody production. However, under these conditions, exposure only to TMA resulted in an elevation of serum IgE. Furthermore, while TMA induced IgG2b rather than IgG2a antibody the reverse pattern was observed with DNCB. These data demonstrate that TMA and DNCB elicit qualitatively different immune responses which are consistent with their potential to cause respiratory and contact allergy, respectively. The possibility that the responses induced by these chemicals reflect a differential stimulation of T-helper cell subsets (Th1 and Th2) is discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)563-570
    Number of pages7
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1991


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