Contact allergy, genetics

Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020

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contact allergy; Contact allergy; genetic factors; Genetics of contact allergy

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Genetic factors influencing the predisposition or susceptibility to the development of contact allergy There is evidence that polymorphisms of the tumour necrosis factor genes (see tumour necrosis factor-α below), the filaggrin gene (see filaggrine below), the N-acetyltransferase genes NAT1 and NAT2 (see N-acetyltransferases), the glutathione S-transferase genes (see below glutathione S-transferases), the ACE genes (see below ACE) can influence the pathogenesis of the contact allergic reaction in different ways. Further polymorphisms in different cytokines, e.g. IL-16 (see below interleukins) also seem to play a role.

General information
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  • Nickel allergy has been particularly well studied with regard to genetic factors. Studies have shown that concordance is more pronounced in monozygotic twins than in dizygotic twins.
  • The proportion of filaggrin mutations seems to be higher in nickel-contact sensitised twins than in other contact sensitised twins.
  • It is worth noting that nickel is also directly recognised by T-cells during the process of contact sensitisation (also MHC-independent).

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  1. Bryld LE et al (2003) Risk factors influencing the development of hand eczema in a population-based twin sample. Br J Dermatol 149: 1214-1220
  2. Jensen CS et al (2002) Decrease in nickel sensitization in a Danish schoolgirl population with ears pierced after implementation of a nickel-exposure regulation. Br J Dermatol 146: 636-642
  3. Novak N et al (2008) Loss-of-function mutations in the filaggrin genes and allergic contact sensitization to nickel. J Invest Dermatol 128: 1430-1435
  4. Schnuch A (2011) Genetics of contact allergy. dermatologist 62: 732-738 -738

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020