Mercury-specific lymphocytes: An indication of mercury allergy in man
- Cite this article as:
- Stejskal, V.D.M., Forsbeck, M., Cederbrant, K.E. et al. J Clin Immunol (1996) 16: 31. doi:10.1007/BF01540970
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In this study, 18 patients with oral lichen planus (OLP), adjacent to amalgam fillings, were testedin vitro with an optimized lymphocyte proliferation test, MELISA (memory lymphocyte immunostimulation assay) and with a patch test. Twenty subjects with amalgam fillings but without oral discomfort and 12 amalgam-free subjects served as controls. The results show that patients with OLP have significantly higher lymphocyte reactivity to inorganic mercury, a corrosion product of amalgam, compared to control groups. Removal of amalgam fillings resulted in the disappearance of oral mucosal changes, thus indicating a causal relationship. Positive responses to phenylmercury (phenyl-Hg), a bactericidal agent in rootfillings and in pharmaceutical preparations, were also noted in the oral lichen group but not in the control groups. Thus, low-grade chronic exposure to mercury may induce a state of systemic sensitization as verified by Hg-specific lymphocyte reactivityin vitro.