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Saturday 01 September 2001

Repeated latex aeroallergen challenges employing a hooded exposure chamber: safety and reproducibility.

By: Kurtz KM, Hamilton RG, Schaefer JA, Primeau MN, Adkinson NF Jr.

Allergy 2001 Sep;56(9):857-61

BACKGROUND: Bronchial, nasal, and conjunctival challenges are useful for clarifying discordant clinical history (Hx) and skin and/or serologic tests and in assessing semiquantitative changes in biologic sensitivity over time. The objective of this study was to determine the safety and reproducibility of repeated latex-allergen challenges with a hooded exposure chamber (HEC). METHODS: The HEC system comprises a powered forced-air respirator with a fitted face shield and hood that uses glove-derived latex-allergen associated cornstarch particles (LAC) to expose simultaneously the conjunctiva, nose, and lungs. Serial control and incremental LAC challenges are conducted until an endpoint based on upper and/or lower respiratory tract symptoms and peak expiratory flow rates is reached. Six latex-allergic (Hx and puncture skin test [PST]- and 5/6 radioallergosorbent test [RAST]-positive) subjects were challenged on three separate occasions at least 2 weeks apart. Serial latex PST midpoints and serum anti-latex IgE by RAST were monitored at each visit and at a fourth follow-up visit. RESULTS: All subjects responded to LAC, but not to air or control cornstarch administered as controls. All responses were confined to mild symptoms of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and/or asthma that either resolved spontaneously or were reversed with inhaled albuterol. No subject experienced a systemic or delayed reaction. There were no significant changes in the endpoint LAC doses over the three challenge visits (P>0.2). The mean coefficient of variation for log2 endpoints within-subjects was 17.3+/-17.2% (SD). The serum latex-specific IgE was not significantly boosted by the three challenges (P>0.2). The concentration of latex extract necessary to produce an 8-mm wheal by PST was not significantly changed during the study (P>0.1), indicating that latex sensitivity was not affected by the repeated LAC exposures. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study indicate that repeated HEC latex-allergen challenges are both reproducible and safe, and do not increase latex sensitivity.

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