sensitization to chemicals

Steve Emerson semerson at
Wed Jul 31 20:52:17 EST 1996

Betty Bridges (bcb56 at wrote:
: Can anyone explain the pathogenesis of sensitization to chemicals?  

Dr. Hitzig in Maryland has contributed much in this area, and thru
clinical practice has found serotonin/dopamine deficits very much
central to this problem.

As a layman, I believe that chemicals somehow activate or
increase MAO or MAOB activity, which results in neurotransmitter
deficits.  These deficits in turn increase MAO/MAOB susceptibility
to chemicals, thru some causal chain that seems to be created by the
exposures themselves.  There is probably some genetic aspect
to it as well.

The chemically sensitive patient's immune system is abnormally
"reactive", due to the transmitter deficit.  Upon chemical exposure,
the chemically sensitive patient's immune system will react to the
chemical.  Also, if the chemical is "offensive" enough or concentrated
enough, more transmitter depletion will occur through MAO/MAOB,
and the patient will be even more sensitized (i.e. depleted),
until s/he can "clear" from the chemicals and restore
the transmitter levels to baseline.  If transmitter deficits
are severe and/or MAO/MAOB sensitivity to chemicals is
high, the patient cannot raise his transmitters levels
and heal because chemicals in his/her environment continually
cause transmitter depletion.  This is what I believe is the
chemical sensitivity trap.

The above description is a layman's opinion only.  I may be wrong.

semerson at teleport.COM  Public Access User -- Not affiliated with Teleport

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