Occupational Asthma Reference

Quirce S, Cuevas M, Olaguibel JM, Tabar AI, Occupational asthma and immunologic responses induced by inhaled carmine among employees at a factory making natural dyes, J Allergy Clin Immunol, 1994;93:44-52,

Keywords: Carmine is a natural red dye widely used as a food coloring agent and for cosmetic manufacture. It is extracted from the dried females of the insect Dactylopius coccus var. Costa (cochineal). Although it has been reported that inhalation of carmine may give rise to occupational asthma and extrinsic allergic alveolitis, there is little evidence of its immunogenic capacity. We studied nine current employees at a factory making natural dyes and one former employee who had left this plant after occu

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Santiago Quirce, Madrid Santiago Quirce

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Abstract

Carmine is a natural red dye widely used as a food coloring agent and for cosmetic manufacture. It is extracted from the dried females of the insect Dactylopius coccus var. Costa (cochineal). Although it has been reported that inhalation of carmine may give rise to occupational asthma and extrinsic allergic alveolitis, there is little evidence of its immunogenic capacity. We studied nine current employees at a factory making natural dyes and one former employee who had left this plant after occupational asthma developed. A current employee had work-related symptoms of rhinitis and asthma that were confirmed by bronchial provocation tests, and another worker had rhinitis. Immunologic sensitization to carmine and cochineal was evaluated by means of skin testing and determination of serum-specific IgE and IgG subclass antibodies by RAST and ELISA, respectively. The specificity of the RAST assay was investigated by RAST inhibition with different fractions of carmine. The three workers with respiratory symptoms had positive skin prick test reactions to both carmine and cochineal. An immediate response to the bronchial provocation test with carmine and cochineal was observed in the current employee with asthma. Specific IgE antibodies against carmine and cochineal were found only in this worker. RAST inhibition studies indicated that the main allergen had a molecular weight between 10 and 30 kd. Specific IgG antibodies against carmine and cochineal, mainly the subclasses IgG1, IgG3, and IgG4, were found in the 10 subjects surveyed. These findings suggest that carmine may induce immunologic responses, most likely IgE mediated in workers with symptoms of occupational asthma

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