Nickel sensitization and dietary nickel are a substantial cause of symptoms provocation in patients with chronic allergic-like dermatitis syndromes

Allergy Rhinol (Providence). 2015 Jan;6(1):56-63. doi: 10.2500/ar.2015.6.0109. Epub 2015 Mar 5.


Data in literature seem to show that, in patients with contact allergic dermatitis, dietary nickel might be a cause of systemic dermatitis, but little information exists in literature about the role of nickel sensitization and dietary nickel in patients with allergic-like chronic dermatitis syndromes. The prevalence of nickel sensitization in patients with chronic allergic-like, non-IgE-mediated skin diseases, and the possible impact of dietary nickel on symptom provocation and persistence has been assessed in the present retrospective study on a case series of 1726 patients referred to our allergy unit for chronic allergic-like skin diseases. IgE-mediated pathogenesis and other differential diagnoses excluded, patients were patch tested. Nickel-positive patients underwent an elimination diet and double-blind placebo-controlled nickel challenge (DBPCNC) test. A total of 339 (20%) tested nickel-positive. Fifty-two patients (15%) recovered by avoiding sources of nickel contact and 29 (10%) dropped out. Out of the remaining nickel-sensitized patients, 277 (80%) achieved complete or near complete recovery with low-nickel content diet, and 185 of them (89%) were positive to DBPCNC. We conclude that nickel sensitization and dietary nickel seem to be the chief trigger for provocation and persistence of symptoms in an important part (∼11%) of patients with chronic allergic-like dermatitis syndromes.