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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2006 December;141(6):483-93

Copyright © 2006 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Allergic contact dermatitis. A review of immunological mechanisms

Hunger R. E., Hassan A. S., Braathen L. R., Yawalkar N.

Department of Dermatology University of Berne Inselspital, Bern, Switzerland


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Allergic contact dermatitis is a T cell mediated, antigen-specific inflammatory reaction of the skin due to repeated epicutaneous exposure to antigens. Immunologically it is divided into 2 phases, induction and elicitation phase. During the first phase which is clinically silent, naïve T cells are activated and differentiate into antigen-specific memory T cells. During the elicitation phase, after recontact with the same antigen, memory T cells are activated and exert direct and indirect cytotoxic effects towards cells of the skin. In this review we summarize immunological mechanisms leading to allergic contact dermatitis.

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