Cell-mediated immune responses to artificial food additives in chronic urticaria

Clin Allergy. 1986 Nov;16(6):527-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.1986.tb01991.x.


In some cases of chronic urticaria it is suspected that food additives such as tartrazine and sodium benzoate or salicylates may play a role in the pathogenesis of the condition. Since, at times, chronic urticaria may appear histologically similar to a mild cell-mediated immune response, the release of the T cell-derived lymphokine leucocyte inhibitory factor (LIF), in response to incubation with these additives and with acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), was measured in vitro using cells from normal controls, from patients with chronic urticaria with or without clinically associated additive sensitivity and from patients with asthma with or without associated ASA sensitivity. It was found that significant production of LIF occurred in response to tartrazine and sodium benzoate in those individuals with chronic additive induced urticaria. In addition, tartrazine caused LIF release from mononuclear cells of ASA-sensitive asthmatics. These results may indicate a possible role for additive-induced cell-mediated immune responses in the pathogenesis of some cases of chronic urticaria and suggest a potential diagnostic test for this condition.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aspirin / adverse effects
  • Aspirin / immunology
  • Benzoates / adverse effects
  • Benzoates / immunology
  • Benzoic Acid
  • Cell Migration Inhibition
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Food Additives / adverse effects*
  • Food Additives / immunology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / complications
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular / drug effects*
  • Leukocyte Migration-Inhibitory Factors / isolation & purification
  • Leukocyte Migration-Inhibitory Factors / metabolism
  • Leukocytes / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tartrazine / adverse effects
  • Tartrazine / immunology
  • Urticaria / blood
  • Urticaria / etiology
  • Urticaria / immunology*


  • Benzoates
  • Food Additives
  • Leukocyte Migration-Inhibitory Factors
  • Benzoic Acid
  • Tartrazine
  • Aspirin