Sensitization to contact allergens and bronchial hyper-responsiveness

Eva Schnabel, Yvonne Schoefer, Chih Mei Chen, Torsten Schäfer, Heidrun Behrendt, Johannes Ring, H. Erich Wichmann, Joachim Heinrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Exposure to contact allergens and specific allergic sensitization to them are common, but possible related health effects have been rarely studied. Objectives: We aimed to analyse possible associations between contact sensitization to nickel sulfate and fragrance mix I and lung function parameters or bronchial hyper-responsiveness. Methods: Within a population-based study in Augsburg, 1052 adults performed lung function tests, including forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC) and bronchial hyper-responsiveness (BHR). Patch tests were performed, and information was assessed by medical examinations and interviews. Logistic regression models were applied to study associations between contact allergies and lung function parameters. Results: Women were sensitized significantly more often than men to nickel [odds ratio (OR) 3.97, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.50-6.29] and fragrance mix I (OR 2.28, 95% CI 1.50-3.46). Patch test results for nickel and fragrance mix I did not influence mean FEV1 and FVC % predicted values. However, in women, a higher rate of BHR was associated with positive patch test reactions to fragrance mix I (OR 2.24, 95% CI 1.11-4.52). Conclusions: Contact sensitization to fragrance mix I is associated with a higher rate of BHR in women. Thus, in women with contact allergy to fragrances, airway obstruction should be considered as a possible co-morbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-163
Number of pages7
JournalContact Dermatitis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • allergic contact dermatitis
  • bronchial hyper-responsiveness
  • fragrance
  • lung function
  • nickel


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