Cross-sensitization patterns in guinea pigs between cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl alcohol and cinnamic acid
Weibel H, Hansen J, Andersen KE.
Guinea pig maximization tests (GPMT) were performed with cinnamon substances. There was a certain degree of cross-reactivity between cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl alcohol and cinnamic acid as animals sensitized to cinnamaldehyde reacted to the challenge with the three substances. Animals sensitized to cinnamyl alcohol reacted to cinnamyl alcohol and cinnamaldehyde, but not to cinnamic acid. Cinnamic acid did not sensitize guinea pigs. Compared to the challenge concentration for cinnamaldehyde, approximately a 15 times higher concentration of cinnamyl alcohol and a 25 times higher concentration of cinnamic acid were required to give positive reactions in animals sensitized to cinnamaldehyde. This could not be explained by differences in permeability properties, as the penetration profiles of the three substances through guinea pig skin in vitro showed permeability coefficients of the same order of magnitude under the test conditions. The study suggests that cinnamaldehyde is the "true" allergen, while cinnamyl alcohol and cinnamic acid are transformed in the skin to cinnamaldehyde, before contact allergic reactions can occur.