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Respiratory and skin hypersensitivity reactions caused by a peptide coupling reagent
  1. O Vandenplas1,2,
  2. M-P Hereng3,
  3. J Heymans1,4,
  4. F Huaux4,
  5. C Lilet-Leclercq5,
  6. B Dezfoulian6,
  7. J-L Grand7,
  8. J Thimpont2
  1. 1
    Service de Pneumologie, Cliniques Universitaires de Mont-Godinne, Université Catholique de Louvain, Yvoir, Belgium
  2. 2
    Fonds des Maladies Professionnelles, Brussels, Belgium
  3. 3
    Prévention et Protection au Travail - Centre de Service Interentreprises (CESI), Brussels, Belgium
  4. 4
    Unité de Toxicologie Industrielle et de Médecine du Travail, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium
  5. 5
    Service d’Otorhinolaryngologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire du Sart-Tilmant, Liège, Belgium
  6. 6
    Service de Dermatologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire du Sart-Tilmant, Liège, Belgium
  7. 7
    Service de Pneumologie, Hôpital de la Citadelle, Liège, Belgium, Belgium
  1. Dr Olivier Vandenplas, Service de Pneumologie, Cliniques Universitaires de Mont-Godinne, B-5530 Yvoir, Belgium; olivier.vandenplas{at}

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TBTU (2-[1H-benzotriazol-1-yl]-1,1,3,3-tetramethyluronium tetrafluoroborate; CAS No: 125700-67-6) and HBTU (2-[1H-benzotriazol-1-yl]-1,1,3,3-tetramethyluronium hexafluorophosphate; CAS No: 94790-37-1) are increasingly used as coupling reagents for the stepwise synthesis of peptides. There have been isolated reports describing the development of rhinitis, urticaria and contact dermatitis14 caused by these uronium compounds.

We evaluated six workers exposed to TBTU in a laboratory producing a wide variety of biologically active peptides. Three times a week, they weighed 30–50 g of TBTU powder into separate aliquots which were dissolved in dimethylformamide in closed vials and connected to an automated synthesiser. The survey included a detailed questionnaire and skin-prick tests with five common inhalant allergens, natural rubber latex, and freshly prepared dilutions of TBTU, HBTU and hydroxybenzotriazole (HOBt) (1 and 10 mg/ml) in sterile saline. The protocol of …

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  • Funding: This work was supported by the Actions de Recherche Concertées de la Communauté Française de Belgique and the Fonds Scientifique CESI.

  • Competing interests: None.