Occupational Asthma Reference

Elms J, Fishwick D, Robinson E, Burge S, Huggins V, Barber C, Williams N, Curran A, Specific IgE to colophony?, Occup Med, 2005;55:234-237,


Known Authors

Joanne Harris-Roberts (nee Elms), HSL, Buxton, UK Joanne Harris-Roberts (nee Elms)

Andrew Curran, HSL, Sheffield, UK Andrew Curran

David Fishwick, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, UK David Fishwick

Sherwood Burge, Oasys Sherwood Burge

Vicky Moore, Oasys Vicky Moore

Nerys Williams, Department of Work and Pensions Nerys Williams

Chris Barber, Health and Safety Laboratories, Buxton Chris Barber

Ed Robinson, Health and Safety Laboratories, Buxton, UK Ed Robinson

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Colophony (rosin) is a natural product obtained from coniferous trees. It is used in a diverse range of products such as adhesives, ink, paints and soldering fluxes. Some workers exposed to colophony during soldering can develop occupational asthma; at present, no specific IgE test is available to assess sensitization to colophony.

Serum samples were obtained from exposed symptomatic individuals (n=7), some with a likely diagnosis of occupational asthma, exposed asymptomatic individuals (n=10) and unexposed individuals (n=11). Serum was tested for specific IgE antibodies against a protein extract produced following in vitro challenge of mono-mac-6 cells with colophony extract.

Serum from exposed symptomatic individuals showed increased binding of specific IgE antibodies to a range of colophony–cell protein conjugates [29% (2/7) of samples tested when cut-off >0.1 or 86% (6/7) of samples tested when cut-off >0%] compared with both the exposed asymptomatic [0% when cut-off >0.1, or 20% when cut-off >0% (2/10)] and the non-exposed control populations [0% when cut-off >0.1, or 27% when cut-off >0% (3/11)].

This novel approach for the production of conjugates to assess sensitization to colophony was able to detect specific IgE in colophony-exposed workers with a likely diagnosis of occupational asthma.

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