Occupational Asthma Reference

Park JW, Kim CW, Kim KS et al, Role of skin prick test and serological measurement of specific IgE in the diagnosis of occupational asthma resulting from exposure to vinyl sulphone reactive dyes, Occup Environ Med, 2001;58:411-416,

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES
Some patients with occupational asthma resulting from exposure to reactive dyes have skin reactivity to the causative dyes and specific IgE to reactive dyes have been found in these patients. However, the usefulness of skin prick tests (SPTs) and serological measurement of specific IgE in screening, diagnosis, and monitoring the occupational asthma resulting from exposure to reactive dyes have not yet been assessed. In this study, the clinical validation of SPTs and measurement of specific IgE to vinyl sulphone reactive dyes by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was evaluated.

METHODS
42 Patients with occupational asthma from reactive dyes (true positive group) were enrolled. In these the causative reactive dye was confirmed by bronchial challenge test. 93 Asymptomatic factory workers with negative challenge to the reactive dye (true negative group) and 16 unexposed controls with negative challenge to the reactive dye were also enrolled. Skin prick tests were done with 10 mg/ml reactive dye in 0.4% phenol/0.9% saline. IgE specific to reactive dye conjugated to human serum albumin (HSA) was measured with enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs).

RESULTS
None of the unexposed controls had a positive response to SPTs. The sensitivity (76.2% v 53.7%), specificity (91.4% v 86.0%), positive predictive value (80.0% v 62.9%), and negative predictive value (89.5% v 80.8%) of SPTs were higher than those of ELISAs. The mean weal size of reaction to reactive dye was weakly correlated with the ELISA optical density of IgE to reactive dye conjugate in patients with occupational asthma from reactive dyes (n=41, r=0.337, p<0.05). In four patients with occupational asthma from reactive dyes and eight control subjects exposed to reactive dye, IgE specific to reactive dye conjugated to HSA was detected with ELISA even though they showed negative skin reactivity. Six patients completely avoided the reactive dye for a mean (SD) 27.8 (10.3) months, IgE specific to reactive dyes decreased in all six patients (p<0.05) during this time.

CONCLUSIONS
Both SPTs and detection of IgE specific to reactive dye in serum samples could be valuable for screening, diagnosis, and monitoring occupational asthma resulting from exposure to reactive dyes. These two tests would complement each other.

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