BACKGROUND: Patients with latex sensitivity and latex antigens from the United States and Finland, two countries where allergic reactions to latex have been widely reported, were evaluated to determine the spectrum of immune responses.
METHODS: Sera from 27 patients from Finland and 18 from the United States with latex allergy and control sera from nonsensitive individuals were studied for latex-specific IgE antibodies. Four antigen preparations were used: two extracted from gloves and one each extracted from rubber tree sap from Malaysia and India. All 45 patients had skin prick test results that were positive to latex antigens, and all sera were evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with the various antigens.
RESULTS: There were considerable differences in the reactivity of patient sera with the different antigens. Only 50% of the sera from patients with latex allergy from Finland demonstrated significant levels of IgE to latex as determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. These patients showed more reactivity with rubber tree sap antigens than with glove antigens. However, 72% of the patients from the United States demonstrated antibodies to latex, and no marked differences were noted between the antigen extracts.
CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that reagents such as rubber tree sap, which contain multiple clinically significant antigenic components, should be included in evaluation of latex allergy and that differences in patient populations may result in serologic variances.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.