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The sesquiterpene lactones (SLs) are secondary plant metabolites, which are widespread in the Compositae/Asteraceae plant family. The first SLs were detected more than 100 years ago, and allergic contact dermatitis from Compositae has been reported since the beginning of the 1900s, but it was not until the late 1960s and early 1970s that a collaboration between dermatologists, chemists and botanists led to the detection of SLs as the main allergens of Compositae plants. In the 1980s, the SL mix, consisting of equimolar amounts of alantolactone, costunolide and dehydrocostus lactone, was developed as a screening agent for Compositae sensitisation. Today, after inclusion of SL mix in the baseline series, the mean prevalence of reactions in Europe is around 1%, and in North America 0.8%. In countries outside Europe and North America, the prevalence ranges between 0% and 10.7%. The detection rate of SL mix is lower than that of some plant extracts, and ideally, SL mix should be supplemented with a mix of SLs from locally prevalent allergenic plants. The prevalence of positive reactions to SL mix suggests continued baseline testing in most European countries, North America, New Zealand, Australia and probably some Chinese centres. © 2023 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Evy Paulsen. The sesquiterpene lactone mix: A review of past, present and future aspects. Contact dermatitis. 2023 Dec;89(6):434-441

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PMID: 37820718

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