Nickel allergy is associated with a broad spectrum cytokine response

Niels P.J. De Graaf, Sanne Roffel, Sue Gibbs, Cees J. Kleverlaan, Lopez Gonzalez Marta, Thomas Rustemeyer, Albert J. Feilzer, Hetty J. Bontkes, Marta Lopez Gonzalez

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Nickel-induced proliferation or cytokine release by peripheral blood mononuclear cells may be used for in vitro diagnosis of nickel allergy. Objectives: Aim of this study was to explore the nickel-specific cytokine profile to further elucidate the pathogenesis of nickel allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) and to identify potential new biomarkers for nickel ACD. Methods: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients and controls were cultured with T-cell skewing cytokine cocktails and/or nickel. Cytokine and chemokine concentrations were assessed in culture supernatants using validated multiplex assays. Specific cytokine production was related to history of nickel allergy and patch-test results. Results: Twenty-one of the 33 analytes included in the analysis were associated with nickel allergy and included type1 (TNF-α, IFN-γ, TNF-β), type 2 (IL-3, IL-4, IL-5, IL-13), type 1/2 (IL-2, IL-10), type 9 (IL-9), type 17/1 (IL-17A[F], GM-CSF, IL-21) and type 22 (IL-22) derived cytokines as well as the T-cell/antigen presentation cell derived factors Thymus and activation regulated chemokine (TARC), IL-27 and IP-10. Receiver operator characteristics (ROC) analysis showed that IL-5 was the strongest biomarker for nickel allergy. Conclusions: A broad spectrum of 33 cytokines and chemokines is involved in the allergen-specific immune response in nickel allergic patients. IL-5 remains, next to the lymphocyte proliferation test, the strongest biomarker for nickel allergy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
JournalContact dermatitis
Issue number1
Early online date11 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • IL-5
  • allergy
  • contact dermatitis
  • cytokines
  • nickel

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