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December 1963

Effect of X-Ray Lymphopenia on Contact DermatitisFailure of Whole-Body X-Irradiation to Inhibit the Delayed Hypersensitivity Challenge Response in the Guinea Pig

Arch Dermatol. 1963;88(6):768-770. doi:10.1001/archderm.1963.01590240092016

Cohen et al and Burdick both have reported that whole body x-ray specifically inhibits the allergic contact dermatitis reaction in sensitized guinea pigs.3,4 They correlate this effect with x-ray induced lymphopenia. Similar results have been reported by others using specific antilymphocyte antisera (which produces a far less profound lymphopenia).1,5,6

We are unable to confirm the finding that x-ray induced lymphopenia specifically attenuates the allergic contact dermatitis reaction. Lymphopenia does not correlate with decreased allergic contact skin reactivity. Whole body x-ray over a wide range does not specifically inhibit the elicitation of allergic contact dermatitis. This conclusion has been reinforced by parallel experiments using cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) as leukopenogen.8,9

Our findings argue against the view that the antibody-like factor of delayed hypersensitivity remains fixed, until the last moment, to blood lymphocytes. Our results are agreeable with the notion that a delayed hypersensitivity antibody-like material circulates in the serum of sensitized animals.10