In vitro Lymphoproliferative Assays with HgCl2 Cannot Identify Patients with Systemic Symptoms Attributed to Dental Amalgam
1999 (English)In: Journal of Dental Research, ISSN 0022-0345, E-ISSN 1544-0591, Vol. 78, no 8, 1450-1458 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Dental amalgam is suspected, by some exposed individuals, to cause various systemic psychological, sensory, and neurological symptoms. Since not all amalgam-bearers experience such reactions, an individual characteristic—for example, a susceptible immune system—might explain these conditions. In vitro lymphocyte proliferation is a valuable tool in the diagnosis of allergy. With HgCl2 as the antigen, however, the test is hampered, because Hg2+ can cause unspecific lymphocyte proliferation, optimal at 1.4 to 9.5 μg HgCl2/mL. Recently, the use of suboptimal HgCl2 concentrations (≤ 0.5 μg/mL) has been suggested to circumvent these problems. The main aim of this study was to investigate whether patients with systemic symptoms alleged to result from the presence of dental amalgam differ from healthy controls, with reference to in vitro lymphoproliferative responses to HgCl2 ≤ 0.5 μg/mL. Three different test protocols—lymphocyte transformation test (LTT) in micro- and macro-cultures, and the memory lymphocyte immunostimulation assay (MELISA®)—were used. Other immune parameters—such as a standard patch test for dental materials, the number of T- and B-lymphocytes, monocytes, granulocytes, and NK cells in peripheral blood, allergic symptoms, and predisposition-were also investigated. Twenty-three amalgam patients, 30 healthy blood donors with amalgam, ten healthy subjects without amalgam, and nine patients with oral lichen planus (OLP) adjacent to dental amalgam and a positive patch test to Hg0 were tested. None of the investigated immune parameters revealed any significant differences between amalgam patients and controls. The sensitivity of in vitro lymphocyte proliferation ranged from 33 to 67%, with the OLP patients as a positive control group, and the specificity from 0 to 70% for healthy controls with a negative patch test to Hg°. Thus, despite the use of HgCl2 ≤ 0.5 μg/mL, a high frequency of positive results was obtained among healthy subjects with or without dental amalgam. Consequently, in vitro lymphocyte proliferation with HgCl2 cannot be used as an objective marker for mercury allergy in dental amalgam-bearers.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1999. Vol. 78, no 8, 1450-1458 p.
National CategoryMedical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-25875DOI: 10.1177/00220345990780081101Local ID: 10312OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-25875DiVA: diva2:246423