Nickel Allergy: Epidemiology, Pathomechanism, Clinical Patterns, Treatment and Prevention Programs

Author(s): Marta Tramontana, Leonardo Bianchi, Katharina Hansel, Daniela Agostinelli, Luca Stingeni*

Journal Name: Endocrine, Metabolic & Immune Disorders - Drug Targets
Formerly Current Drug Targets - Immune, Endocrine & Metabolic Disorders

Volume 20 , Issue 7 , 2020

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Graphical Abstract:


Nickel is the most common cause of contact allergy in the general population and the most frequently detected allergen in patients patch tested for suspected allergic contact dermatitis (ACD). ACD from nickel is a typical type IV hypersensitivity. Nickel allergy is mostly caused by nonoccupational exposure, such as jewelry and clothing decorations, metal tools, medical devices (mainly orthopedic and orthodontic implants, cardiovascular prosthesis), eyeglasses, utensils, keys, pigment for paint, cosmetics, and food (mainly legumes, chocolate, salmon, peanuts). Occupational exposure can involve several workers (mechanics, metalworkers, platers, hairdressers, jewelers, workers in the constructions and electronic industries), classically involving hands and forearms. The classic clinical pattern of ACD caused by nickel is characterized by eczematous dermatitis involving the sites of direct contact with the metal. Non-eczematous-patterns are reported, including lichenoid dermatitis, granuloma annulare, vitiligo-like lesions, dyshidrosiform dermatitis, and vasculitis. In the case of systemic exposure to nickel, sensitized patients could develop systemic contact dermatitis. Patch testing represents the gold standard for the diagnosis of ACD from nickel. Treatment includes avoidance of contact with products containing nickel and the patient’s education about the possible use of alternative products. A recent EU nickel directive, regulating the content and release of nickel from products, has caused a decrease of nickel contact allergy in some European countries. Nickel allergy is a relevant issue of public health with significant personal, social, and economic impact. This review summarizes epidemiology, pathomechanism, clinical patterns, treatment, and prevention programs.

Keywords: Allergic contact dermatitis, nickel allergy, non-occupational and occupational contact dermatitis, patch test, prevention, treatment.

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Article Details

Year: 2020
Published on: 08 September, 2020
Page: [992 - 1002]
Pages: 11
DOI: 10.2174/1871530320666200128141900
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