The potential induction of allergic sensitization to latex from insulin vial tops stimulated an investigation of the prevalence of specific IgE antibodies to latex in serum and the relationship to atopic disease in children with diabetes.


In a cross-sectional study, serum samples of 112 children with type I diabetes (age: 15 [5–18] years; diabetes duration: 6 [1–14] years; median [range]) were investigated for total IgE, IgE screening for inhalational and nutritional allergens, and specific IgE antibodies to latex.


Specific IgE antibodies for inhalational and/or nutritional allergens was found in 42 (38%) children (atopic group). Seven children (6%) exhibited specific IgE antibodies (0.61 [0.40–3.84] kU/I) to latex in serum although none reported clinical symptoms of latex allergy. All latex-sensitized children were found in the atopic group. This prevalence of latex sensitization of 17% (7/42) in atopic children with diabetes is comparable with the frequency described in atopic children without diabetes. These seven patients had higher serum total IgE antibody levels (328 [113–1,000] kU/I) than atopic patients without latex sensitization (n = 35; 124 [24–857] kU/I; P < 0.05) or patients without atopy (n = 70; 33 [2–339] kU/I; P < 0.001). No differences in age or diabetes duration were observed between either group.


Sensitization to latex is found exclusively in children with atopic sensitization and appears to be related to atopic disease and not to frequent contact to latex through insulin injections. However, atopic patients may be at risk for reactions secondary to latex from insulin vials and syringes.

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