Protein contact dermatitis: Allergens, pathogenesis, and management

Cheryl Levin, Erin Warshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Protein contact dermatitis is an allergic skin reaction induced principally by proteins of either animal or plant origin. The clinical presentation is that of a chronic dermatitis, and it is often difficult to differentiate between allergic contact dermatitis and other eczematous dermatoses. One distinguishing clinical feature is that acute flares of pruritus, urticaria, edema, or vesiculation are noted minutes after contact with the causative substances. Additionally, the patch-test result is typically negative, and the scratch- or pricktest result is positive. The pathogenesis of protein contact dermatitis is unclear but may involve a type I (immunoglobulin E [IgE], immediate) hypersensitivity reaction, type IV (cell-mediated delayed) hypersensitivity reaction, and/or a delayed reaction due to IgE bearing Langerhans' cells. Management involves avoidance of the allergen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-251
Number of pages11
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2008


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