Didecyldimethylammonium chloride (DDAC) is a dialkyl-quaternary ammonium compound that is used in numerous products for its bactericidal, virucidal and fungicidal properties. There have been reports of immediate and delayed hypersensitivity reactions following occupational exposure to this chemical, however the sensitization potential of DDAC has not been thoroughly investigated. The purpose of these studies was to evaluate the irritancy and sensitization potential of DDAC following dermal exposure. DDAC induced significant irritancy, evaluated by ear swelling, when female Balb/c mice were treated with concentrations 0.5% and higher. Initial evaluation of the sensitization potential was conducted using the local lymph node assay (LLNA) at concentrations ranging from 0.0625% to 1%. A dose responsive increase in lymphocyte proliferation was observed reaching statistical significance at 0.25% (non-irritating) with a calculated EC3 value of 0.17%. Dermal exposure to DDAC did not induce production of IgE as evaluated by phenotypic analysis of draining lymph node cells (IgE+B220+) and measurement of total serum IgE levels. Additional phenotypic analysis revealed significant and dose-responsive increases in the absolute number of B-cells, CD4+ T-cells, CD8+ T-cells and dendritic cells, along with significant increases in the percent of B-cells (0.25% and 1%) and decreases in CD4+ (0.25-1%) and CD8+ (1%) T-cells at day 10 following 4 days of dermal exposure. There was also a significant and dose-responsive increase in the number of activated CD4+, CD8+, B-cells and dendritic cells following exposure to all concentrations of DDAC. These results demonstrate the potential for development of irritation and hypersensitivity responses to DDAC following dermal exposure and raise concern about occupational and consumer use of this chemical.
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