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Monday 01 January 2001

A hooded exposure chamber method for semiquantitative latex aeroallergen challenge.

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

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2001 Jan;107(1):178-84

BACKGROUND: Allergen challenges are useful in adjudicating discordant clinical histories and skin test responses, serologic test responses, or both, as well as in determining the degree of allergic reactivity. Latex allergen challenges have been developed but have limitations that reduce their usefulness. OBJECTIVE: We sought to develop a novel hooded exposure chamber (HEC) system to allow safe, sensitive, and semiquantitative evaluation of respiratory latex allergy. METHODS: The HEC system uses an impinger to produce a particle cloud of cornstarch isolated from powdered latex gloves. The particles are air driven into a face shield and hood to simultaneously challenge the subject's conjunctiva, nose, and lungs during 3 minutes of normal tidal breathing. A cloud of respirable latex allergen-associated cornstarch particles (LACs) is consistently produced in the HEC during challenges. Twenty-three subjects with latex allergy (history and positive skin test response, positive serologic test response, or both) and 3 atopic control subjects not allergic to latex (history and negative skin test response, negative serologic test response, or both) were sequentially exposed to air, control cornstarch, and then progressive 2-fold increments of LACs in a single-masked fashion. A positive challenge result was defined as (1) a peak expiratory flow rate decline of 15% or greater from baseline; (2) a peak expiratory flow rate decline of 10% or greater and an increase of either the rhinoconjunctivitis or chest symptom score scale of 3 or more points from baseline; or (3) an increase of either the rhinoconjunctivitis or chest symptom score scale of 6 or more points from baseline. RESULTS: Twenty-two of the 23 subjects with latex allergy reached threshold criteria for a positive challenge at LAC titers of 1:8 or greater, giving a sensitivity of 0.96. Challenge endpoints were moderately corrected with skin test sensitivity (r (s) = -0.55, P =.01) but not with RAST reactivity. None of the 3 control subjects responded to LACs at the 1:8 dilution. No patient or control subject responded to the air or control cornstarch control exposures. All responses were confined to mild symptoms of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, asthma, or both that either resolved spontaneously or were easily reversed with inhaled albuterol. No subject experienced a systemic or late-phase reaction. CONCLUSION: The HEC procedure is a safe, sensitive, and specific method for masked semiquantitative latex aeroallergen challenges that mimic occupational latex exposure to powdered latex gloves.

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