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

Recent developments in latex allergy.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Immediate allergic reactions to natural rubber latex continue to be an important medical and occupational health problem. In this review we focus on progress made in understanding the significance of occupational exposure and epidemiology, risk groups, diagnosis and prevention of natural rubber latex allergy. We also discuss methods aimed at quantification of clinically relevant natural rubber latex allergens and studies on B-cell epitopes of major natural rubber latex allergens. RECENT FINDINGS: Prospective studies have been published focusing on the prevention of natural rubber latex allergy. Efforts to identify and characterize new natural rubber latex allergens were continued in several research groups. The use of purified allergens or proteins produced by recombinant DNA technology was assessed in studies aimed at improving the diagnosis of natural rubber latex allergy as well as in developing quantitative methods for the measurement of specific natural rubber latex allergens. For the first time, conformational immunoglobulin E epitopes were identified in a major natural rubber latex allergen, hevein, using a novel chimera-based allergen epitope mapping strategy. SUMMARY: Measures taken in health care to reduce exposure to natural rubber latex products seem to be effective in reducing the number of new sensitizations. A few new minor natural rubber latex allergens, probably important in allergen cross reactions, were identified, and some nonmedical natural rubber latex products were found to be potentially dangerous to natural rubber latex-allergic patients. Sensitive and specific immunoassays for quantification of clinically relevant natural rubber latex allergens in manufactured products were developed in some laboratories. These assays may eventually replace the nonspecific total protein measurement, currently advocated by health authorities in the indirect estimation of allergen amounts in natural rubber latex products. Knowledge about conformational immunoglobulin-binding B-cell epitopes of major allergens is expected to be helpful in designing optimal reagents to specific immunotherapy.[1]


  1. Recent developments in latex allergy. Turjanmaa, K., Alenius, H., Reunala, T., Palosuo, T. Current opinion in allergy and clinical immunology. (2002) [Pubmed]
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