Efficacy of oral hyposensitization in allergic contact dermatitis caused by nickel

Domenico Bonamonte, Antonio Cristaudo, Francesca Nasorri, Teresa Carbone, Ornella De Pità, Gianni Angelini, Andrea Cavani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Nickel contact allergy remains common in Western countries, and the dermatitis may require prolonged treatment. The development of new strategies aimed at improving the quality of life of affected individuals is needed. Objectives. To investigate the efficacy of oral hyposensitization in nickel-allergic individuals and how this affects in vitro T cell responsiveness to the metal. Methods. Twenty-eight nickel-allergic patients received a daily dose of 50 μg of elemental nickel (given as NiSO 4·6H 2O) in cellulose capsules for 3 months. Severity of clinical manifestations, in vivo nickel responsiveness and in vitro T cell responses to the metal were assessed after 1 and 3 months. Results. Twenty-six patients finished the study. In these patients, oral hyposensitization ameliorated clinical manifestations despite continued nickel exposures, and increased the threshold of skin responsiveness to nickel. The 12 enrolled patients in the immunological study showed decreased in vitro T lymphocyte responsiveness to the metal, in terms of both cell proliferation and cytokine release. In the 1-year follow-up, 50% of the patients experienced relapses of the clinical manifestations at sites of topical exposure to nickel. Conclusions. Our study suggested therapeutic efficacy of oral hyposensitization in allergic individuals. Placebo-controlled studies are required to confirm the results and determine the optimal therapeutic regimen for prolonged beneficial effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-301
Number of pages9
JournalContact Dermatitis
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


  • allergic contact dermatitis
  • nickel allergy
  • oral hyposensitization
  • regulatory T lymphocytes
  • T lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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