Rubber contact urticaria. Allergenic properties of 19 brands of latex gloves

Contact Dermatitis. 1988 Nov;19(5):362-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.1988.tb02953.x.


To compare the immediate skin test reactivity of various latex (natural rubber) surgical and cleaning gloves, prick tests were performed on 40 latex-allergic persons, 26 of whom were sensitized by surgical and 14 by cleaning latex gloves. 6/17 surgical gloves tested and 1/2 cleaning gloves caused positive reactions in almost all (over 87%) of the allergic subjects. In contrast, the frequencies of positive reactions to 4 other surgical latex gloves were as low as 8-21%, suggesting that not all surgical gloves are equally allergenic. Control prick tests with 1 synthetic rubber and 1 polyvinyl chloride (PVC) glove were negative in all subjects. 2 surgical latex gloves causing either a high or low number of positive prick tests in allergic subjects were analyzed with high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). Similar allergenic protein fractions were detected, which showed protein peaks at MW 2000, 5000 and 30,000 daltons. Corresponding proteins were detected in 1 latex cleaning glove analyzed and in natural rubber. This result confirms that allergenic proteins persist in various surgical and cleaning latex gloves after manufacture from natural rubber and may cause contact urticaria symptoms in sensitized people.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Allergens / isolation & purification
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / chemically induced*
  • Female
  • Gloves, Surgical
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Weight
  • Rubber / adverse effects*
  • Urticaria / chemically induced*


  • Allergens
  • Rubber