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Mathematical modelling of contact dermatitis from nickel and chromium

Ward, J. P., Franks, S. J., Tindall, M. J., King, J. R., Curtis, A. and Evans, G. S. (2019) Mathematical modelling of contact dermatitis from nickel and chromium. Journal of Mathematical Biology, 79 (2). pp. 595-630. ISSN 0303-6812

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s00285-019-01371-2


Dermal exposure to metal allergens can lead to irritant and allergic contact dermatitis (ACD). In this paper we present a mathematical model of the absorption of metal ions, hexavalent chromium and nickel, into the viable epidermis and compare the localised irritant and T-lymphocyte (T-cell) mediated immune responses. The model accounts for the spatial-temporal variation of skin health, extra and intracellular allergen concentrations, innate immune cells, T-cells, cytokine signalling and lymph node activity up to about 6 days after contact with these metals; repair processes associated with withdrawal of exposure to both metals is not considered in the current model, being assumed secondary during the initial phases of exposure. Simulations of the resulting system of PDEs are studied in one-dimension, i.e. across skin depth, and three-dimensional scenarios with the aim of comparing the responses to the two ions in the cases of first contact (no T-cells initially present) and second contact (T-cells initially present). The results show that on continuous contact, chromium ions elicit stronger skin inflammation, but for nickel, subsequent re-exposure stimulates stronger responses due to an accumulation of cytotoxic T-cell mediated responses which characterise ACD. Furthermore, the surface area of contact to these metals has little effect on the speed of response, whilst sensitivity is predicted to increase with the thickness of skin. The modelling approach is generic and should be applicable to describe contact dermatitis from a wide range of allergens.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research (ICMR)
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Mathematics and Statistics
ID Code:84602
Uncontrolled Keywords:Contact dermatitis, Immune response, Mathematical model, Metal ions, Numerical solution


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