Divergent hypersensitivity responses following topical application of the quaternary ammonium compound, didecyldimethylammonium bromide

<p>Didecyldimethylammonium bromide (DDAB) is a fourth generation dialkyl-quaternary ammonium compound (QAC) that is used in numerous products for its antimicrobial properties. While many QACs have been associated with allergic disease, the toxicity and sensitization of DDAB have not been thoroughly investigated. The purpose of these studies was to evaluate the irritancy and sensitization potential of DDAB following dermal application in a murine model. DDAB induced significant irritancy (0.0625–2%), evaluated by ear swelling in female BALB/c mice. Initial evaluation of the sensitization potential was conducted using the local lymph node assay (LLNA) at concentrations ranging from 0.0625% to 2%. A concentration-dependent increase in lymphocyte proliferation was observed with a calculated EC3 value of 0.057%. Immune cell phenotyping along with local and systemic IgE levels were evaluated following 4 and 14 days of dermal application. Phenotypic analyses revealed significant and dose-responsive increases in the absolute number of B-cells, CD4<sup>+</sup> T-cells, CD8<sup>+</sup> T-cells, and dendritic cells in the draining lymph nodes (DLNs) following 4 and 14 days of dermal exposure with significant increases in the number of activated B-cells and dendritic cells. However, increased activation of CD4<sup>+</sup> T-cell and CD8<sup>+</sup> T-cells was only observed following four days of DDAB exposure. Exposure to DDAB also induced increased production of IgE as evaluated by phenotypic analysis of DLN B-cells (IgE<sup>+</sup> B-cells) and measurement of total serum IgE levels following 14 days but not four days of dermal application. Significant increases in gene expression were observed in the DLN (<i>Il-4</i>, <i>Il-10</i>, and <i>ox40l</i>) and ear (<i>tslp</i>) following 4 and 14 days of DDAB exposure. These results demonstrate the potential for development of irritation and hypersensitivity responses to DDAB following dermal exposure and raise concerns about the effects of exposure duration on hypersensitivity responses.</p>