Occupational Asthma Reference

Mueller-Wirth N, Buenter A, Jörg L, Ebo DG, Glatz M, Fernando SL, Spoerl D, Helbling A, Hausmann O, Gupta N, Pichler WJ, IgE-mediated chlorhexidine allergy—Cross-reactivity with other biguanide disinfectants., Allergy, 2020;75:3237-3247,https://doi.org/10.1111/all.14497
(Plain text: Mueller-Wirth N, Buenter A, Jorg L, Ebo DG, Glatz M, Fernando SL, Spoerl D, Helbling A, Hausmann O, Gupta N, Pichler WJ, IgE-mediated chlorhexidine allergy-Cross-reactivity with other biguanide disinfectants., Allergy)

Keywords: chlorhexidine, urticaria, anaphylaxis, Switzerland

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Neeraj Gupta, Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi Neeraj Gupta

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Chlorhexidine (CHX) is a widely utilized disinfectant that can cause IgE-mediated urticaria/anaphylaxis. The cross-reactivity of patients with IgE-mediated CHX allergy with other disinfectants, which share structural similarities with CHX like polyhexanide (polyhexamethylene biguanide; PHMB), alexidine (ALX), or octenidine (OCT), is unknown.

Forty-four patients with anaphylaxis or urticaria upon CHX exposure and positive skin prick test (SPT) and/or positive CHX ImmunoCAP test (Phadia TFS, Uppsala, Sweden) were recruited. IgE to the biguanide and/or hexamethylene structure was investigated with PHMB ImmunoCAP (n = 32) and by basophil activation tests (BAT) with CHX and ALX (n = 37). Inhibition tests of CHX and PHMB ImmunoCAPs by CHX, ALX, PHMB, and OCT were performed.

IgE reactivity to PHMB as surrogate marker for biguanide/hexamethylene reactivity was detected in 5/32 sera. Seven of 37 patients showed a positive BAT with ALX, but only under optimized conditions. Binding to CHX ImmunoCAP was inhibited by ALX in 1/32 sera, and binding to PHMB was blocked by ALX (1/5) and by OCT in another (1/5). In SPT, 9/10 patients were positive for CHX and 3 of them with ALX (only at highest concentration at 5 mg/mL). A further patient reacted primarily with OCT and showed IgE cross-reactivity with CHX, ALX, and PHMB.

The IgE response to CHX seems polyclonal. The chloroguanide ending of CHX is the main epitope for the IgE and is suitable as screening assay to detect CHX reactivity. IgE-reactivities with the biguanide or hexamethylene components of other disinfectants (ALX, PHMB) can be detected by SPT, PHMB ImmunoCAP, and ALX-BAT in 15%-33% of CHX-

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