Interactions between substances determine allergenic potential

Scientists at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have found a way of showing that a substance can be absorbed differently by the skin depending on what else it is mixed with. This can help determine whether the specific substances causes contact allergy or not. They have also identified the specific cells and proteins in the skin with which the contact allergen interacts.

The skin, which does the job of letting water and urea out, and preventing many viruses and bacteria getting in, sometimes has a hard time dealing with all the chemicals that we are exposed to today.

The method uses an advanced form of light microscopy called “two-photon microscopy”, and follows substances after they have entered the skin. It can show how well a substance is absorbed, and also where the substance ends up after absorption.

This method may also be able to improve the absorption of ointments, and therefore the drugs in the ointments, into the skin.

The University of Gothenberg

First published in December 2011

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