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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Do monoterpenes released from feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) plants cause airborne Compositae dermatitis?

The Compositae plant feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is an important sensitizer in Europe and has been suspected of causing airborne Compositae dermatitis. A previous investigation of substances emitted from feverfew plants detected no sesquiterpene lactones, however, but mainly monoterpenes. The aims of this study were to test whether feverfew-allergic patients were also sensitive to some of the above-mentioned monoterpenes and, if so, to study associations between sensitization patterns, relevance of feverfew allergy and clinical features. 17 patients with + +/+ + + reactions to feverfew and parthenolide were tested with 15 selected monoterpenes and 2 sesquiterpenes. Of the 17 persons, 13 had positive and/or doubtful positive reactions to 1 or more monoterpenes. Only 1 person was allergic to several monoterpenes. Her history of gradually worsening Compositae dermatitis culminating in a probable airborne dermatitis, mimicking photosensitivity, and the disappearance of symptoms upon removal of feverfew plants suggest monoterpenes as a possible contributing factor. Similar associations between doubtful positive monoterpene reactions and clinical patterns, fragrance/colophonium allergy and relevance of feverfew allergy were not established with certainty. In conclusion, sensitization to the sesquiterpene lactones of feverfew is not invariably accompanied by sensitization to its volatile monoterpenes. The presence of monoterpene allergy, however, may contribute to airborne Compositae dermatitis.[1]


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