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Event: 313

Key Event Title

The KE title should describe a discrete biological change that can be measured. It should generally define the biological object or process being measured and whether it is increased, decreased, or otherwise definably altered relative to a control state. For example “enzyme activity, decreased”, “hormone concentration, increased”, or “growth rate, decreased”, where the specific enzyme or hormone being measured is defined. More help

Increase, Allergic Respiratory Hypersensitivity Response

Short name
The KE short name should be a reasonable abbreviation of the KE title and is used in labelling this object throughout the AOP-Wiki. The short name should be less than 80 characters in length. More help
Increase, Allergic Respiratory Hypersensitivity Response

Biological Context

Structured terms, selected from a drop-down menu, are used to identify the level of biological organization for each KE. Note, KEs should be defined within a particular level of biological organization. Only KERs should be used to transition from one level of organization to another. Selection of the level of biological organization defines which structured terms will be available to select when defining the Event Components (below). More help

Organ term

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.The biological context describes the location/biological environment in which the event takes place.  For molecular/cellular events this would include the cellular context (if known), organ context, and species/life stage/sex for which the event is relevant. For tissue/organ events cellular context is not applicable.  For individual/population events, the organ context is not applicable. More help
Organ term

Key Event Components

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.Because one of the aims of the AOP-KB is to facilitate de facto construction of AOP networks through the use of shared KE and KER elements, authors are also asked to define their KEs using a set of structured ontology terms (Event Components). In the absence of structured terms, the same KE can readily be defined using a number of synonymous titles (read by a computer as character strings). In order to make these synonymous KEs more machine-readable, KEs should also be defined by one or more “event components” consisting of a biological process, object, and action with each term originating from one of 22 biological ontologies (Ives, et al., 2017; See List). Biological process describes dynamics of the underlying biological system (e.g., receptor signalling). The biological object is the subject of the perturbation (e.g., a specific biological receptor that is activated or inhibited). Action represents the direction of perturbation of this system (generally increased or decreased; e.g., ‘decreased’ in the case of a receptor that is inhibited to indicate a decrease in the signalling by that receptor).Note that when editing Event Components, clicking an existing Event Component from the Suggestions menu will autopopulate these fields, along with their source ID and description. To clear any fields before submitting the event component, use the 'Clear process,' 'Clear object,' or 'Clear action' buttons. If a desired term does not exist, a new term request may be made via Term Requests. Event components may not be edited; to edit an event component, remove the existing event component and create a new one using the terms that you wish to add. More help
Process Object Action
Respiratory Hypersensitivity increased

Key Event Overview

AOPs Including This Key Event

All of the AOPs that are linked to this KE will automatically be listed in this subsection. This table can be particularly useful for derivation of AOP networks including the KE. Clicking on the name of the AOP will bring you to the individual page for that AOP. More help
AOP Name Role of event in AOP Point of Contact Author Status OECD Status
Covalent binding to proteins leads to Respiratory Sensitisation/Sensitization/Allergy AdverseOutcome Kristie Sullivan (send email) Under Development: Contributions and Comments Welcome Under Development


This is a structured field used to identify specific agents (generally chemicals) that can trigger the KE. Stressors identified in this field will be linked to the KE in a machine-readable manner, such that, for example, a stressor search would identify this as an event the stressor can trigger. NOTE: intermediate or downstream KEs in one AOP may function as MIEs in other AOPs, meaning that stressor information may be added to the KE description, even if it is a downstream KE in the pathway currently under development.Information concerning the stressors that may trigger an MIE can be defined using a combination of structured and unstructured (free-text) fields. For example, structured fields may be used to indicate specific chemicals for which there is evidence of an interaction relevant to this MIE. By linking the KE description to a structured chemical name, it will be increasingly possible to link the MIE to other sources of chemical data and information, enhancing searchability and inter-operability among different data-sources and knowledgebases. The free-text section “Evidence for perturbation of this MIE by stressor” can be used both to identify the supporting evidence for specific stressors triggering the MIE as well as to define broad chemical categories or other properties that classify the stressors able to trigger the MIE for which specific structured terms may not exist. More help

Taxonomic Applicability

Latin or common names of a species or broader taxonomic grouping (e.g., class, order, family) can be selected from an ontology. In many cases, individual species identified in these structured fields will be those for which the strongest evidence used in constructing the AOP was available in relation to this KE. More help
Term Scientific Term Evidence Link
human Homo sapiens High NCBI

Life Stages

The structured ontology terms for life-stage are more comprehensive than those for taxa, but may still require further description/development and explanation in the free text section. More help
Life stage Evidence
All life stages

Sex Applicability

No help message More help
Term Evidence

Key Event Description

A description of the biological state being observed or measured, the biological compartment in which it is measured, and its general role in the biology should be provided. For example, the biological state being measured could be the activity of an enzyme, the expression of a gene or abundance of an mRNA transcript, the concentration of a hormone or protein, neuronal activity, heart rate, etc. The biological compartment may be a particular cell type, tissue, organ, fluid (e.g., plasma, cerebrospinal fluid), etc. The role in the biology could describe the reaction that an enzyme catalyses and the role of that reaction within a given metabolic pathway; the protein that a gene or mRNA transcript codes for and the function of that protein; the function of a hormone in a given target tissue, physiological function of an organ, etc. Careful attention should be taken to avoid reference to other KEs, KERs or AOPs. Only describe this KE as a single isolated measurable event/state. This will ensure that the KE is modular and can be used by other AOPs, thereby facilitating construction of AOP networks. More help

The development of an allergic hypersensitivity reaction in the respiratory tract is a two-step process, first requiring induction of the immune response, here as a result of exposure to a low-molecular-weight chemical (Boverhof et al, 2008). Subsequent single or multiple exposures to the same substance result in elicitation of an allergic hypersensitivity reaction, characterized by breathlessness and wheezing, airflow obstruction, bronchoconstriction, and tightness of the chest (Lauenstein et al, 2014). Reactions can be acutely life threatening or lead to chronic occupational asthma (Boverhof et al, 2008).

How It Is Measured or Detected

One of the primary considerations in evaluating AOPs is the relevance and reliability of the methods with which the KEs can be measured. The aim of this section of the KE description is not to provide detailed protocols, but rather to capture, in a sentence or two, per method, the type(s) of measurements that can be employed to evaluate the KE and the relative level of scientific confidence in those measurements. Methods that can be used to detect or measure the biological state represented in the KE should be briefly described and/or cited. These can range from citation of specific validated test guidelines, citation of specific methods published in the peer reviewed literature, or outlines of a general protocol or approach (e.g., a protein may be measured by ELISA).Key considerations regarding scientific confidence in the measurement approach include whether the assay is fit for purpose, whether it provides a direct or indirect measure of the biological state in question, whether it is repeatable and reproducible, and the extent to which it is accepted in the scientific and/or regulatory community. Information can be obtained from the OECD Test Guidelines website and the EURL ECVAM Database Service on Alternative Methods to Animal Experimentation (DB-ALM). ?

Clinical signs described above can be objectively assessed in humans to confirm diagnosis of respiratory hypersensitivity.

Boverhof et al (2008) reviews various in vivo methods to detect respiratory hypersensitivity.

In rats, respiratory exposure to diisocyanites leads to immediate and delayed airway response (i.e. lung function). Elicitation is confirmed measuring PMN in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BAL) one day after inhalation challenge and exhaled NO (Pauluhn 2014).

In mice, induction of immune response, measured by T-lymphocyte maturation and proliferation in local lymph nodes, can often be detected using a Local Lymph Node Assay protocol (OECD 2010) with subsequent cytokine fingerprinting or IgE testing (Dearman et al 2003; Boverhof et al 2008).

Allergen-specific IgE detection and measurement techniques include skin tests (intradermal and subcutaneous skin prick testing) and blood testing using immune assays such as ELISAs and commercially available tests such as ImmunoCAP™. For example, Bernstein et al. investigated the ability of TMA skin testing to identify sensitized workers and found that skin prick testing was positive in 8 of 11 workers with serum-specific IgE and intradermal testing in a further two. (Bernstein et al., 2011) It is important to note, however, that there are technical challenges associated with detection and measurement of specific IgE and IgG to chemical respiratory allergens, including production of the correct protein conjugate and timing of measurement. (Kimber et al., 2014, Quirce, 2014) Immune assays such as ELISA or ImmunoCAP are also used to investigate allergen-specific antibody isotype profiles. (Movérare et al., 2017) Investigations into direct and indirect class switching involve transcriptomic analyses of IgE heavy chain transcripts and are challenging due to the scarcity of IgE-switched B cells in human blood. (Davies et al., 2013)

In cases where specific IgE cannot be identified, the Basophil Activation Test (BAT) can identify allergic response in patients within a year of the last allergen exposure. Basophils degranulate in response to IgE cross-links bound to the high-affinity IgE receptor, much like mast cells. In fresh blood samples (less than 24 hours old) this can be measured by the translocation of CD63 to the membrane using flow cytometry. A review of the use of BAT in diagnosing occupational asthma shows that BAT is a functional readout that works for a variety of allergens, including dust, latex, and small molecules such as ammonium persulfate, chlorhexidine, and beta-lactam antibiotics. However, 10 - 20% of people are estimated to be BAT non-responders in which this response is not detected. (Vera-Berrios et al., 2019)

Domain of Applicability

This free text section should be used to elaborate on the scientific basis for the indicated domains of applicability and the WoE calls (if provided). While structured terms may be selected to define the taxonomic, life stage and sex applicability (see structured applicability terms, above) of the KE, the structured terms may not adequately reflect or capture the overall biological applicability domain (particularly with regard to taxa). Likewise, the structured terms do not provide an explanation or rationale for the selection. The free-text section on evidence for taxonomic, life stage, and sex applicability can be used to elaborate on why the specific structured terms were selected, and provide supporting references and background information.  More help

Regulatory Significance of the Adverse Outcome

An AO is a specialised KE that represents the end (an adverse outcome of regulatory significance) of an AOP. For KEs that are designated as an AO, one additional field of information (regulatory significance of the AO) should be completed, to the extent feasible. If the KE is being described is not an AO, simply indicate “not an AO” in this section.A key criterion for defining an AO is its relevance for regulatory decision-making (i.e., it corresponds to an accepted protection goal or common apical endpoint in an established regulatory guideline study). For example, in humans this may constitute increased risk of disease-related pathology in a particular organ or organ system in an individual or in either the entire or a specified subset of the population. In wildlife, this will most often be an outcome of demographic significance that has meaning in terms of estimates of population sustainability. Given this consideration, in addition to describing the biological state associated with the AO, how it can be measured, and its taxonomic, life stage, and sex applicability, it is useful to describe regulatory examples using this AO. More help

This adverse outcome is of high regulatory interest and relevance, though no test guideline is available. Regulatory agencies and industrial producers are interested in preventing the first step--induction of immune response. Importantly, induction of respiratory sensitisation can be obtained via skin exposure, which is consequential for potential exposure restrictions.


List of the literature that was cited for this KE description. Ideally, the list of references, should conform, to the extent possible, with the OECD Style Guide ( (OECD, 2015). More help

Boverhof DR, Billington R, Bhaskar Gollapudi B, Hotchkiss JA, Krieger SM, Poole A, Wiescinski CM, and Woolhiser MR. 2008. Respiratory sensitization and allergy: Current research approaches and needs. Tox Appl Pharm 226:1-13.

Dearman RJ, Betts CJ, Humphreys N, Flanagan BF, Gilmour NJ, Basketter DA, Kimber I. 2003. Chemical allergy: considerations for the practical application of cytokine profiling. Toxicol. Sci. 71, 137–145.

Lauenstein L, Switalla S, Prenzler F, Seehase S, Pfennig O, Förster C, Fieguth H, Braun A and Sewald K. 2014. Assessment of immunotoxicity induced by chemicals in human precision-cut lung slices (PCLS). Tox in Vitro 28:588–599.

OECD (2010) Test No. 429: Skin Sensitisation: Local Lymph Node Assay, OECD Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals, Section 4, OECD Publishing. doi: 10.1787/9789264071100-en.

Pauluhn J. 2014. Development of a respiratory sensitization/elicitation protocol of toluene diisocyanate (TDI) in Brown Norway rats to derive an elicitation-based occupational exposure level. Toxicology 319: 10–22.

BERNSTEIN, J. A., GHOSH, D., SUBLETT, W. J., WELLS, H. & LEVIN, L. 2011. Is trimellitic anhydride skin testing a sufficient screening tool for selectively identifying TMA-exposed workers with TMA-specific serum IgE antibodies? J Occup Environ Med, 53, 1122-7.

DAVIES, J. M., PLATTS-MILLS, T. A. & AALBERSE, R. C. 2013. The enigma of IgE+ B-cell memory in human subjects. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 131, 972-6.

KIMBER, I., DEARMAN, R. J. & BASKETTER, D. A. 2014. Diisocyanates, occupational asthma and IgE antibody: implications for hazard characterization. J Appl Toxicol, 34, 1073-7.

MOVÉRARE, R., BLUME, K., LIND, P., CREVEL, R., MARKNELL DEWITT, Å. & COCHRANE, S. 2017. Human Allergen-Specific IgG Subclass Antibodies Measured Using ImmunoCAP Technology. Int Arch Allergy Immunol, 172, 1-10.

QUIRCE, S. 2014. IgE antibodies in occupational asthma: are they causative or an associated phenomenon? Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol, 14, 100-5.

VERA-BERRIOS, R. N., FEARY, J. & CULLINAN, P. 2019. Basophil activation testing in occupational respiratory allergy to low molecular weight compounds. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol, 19, 92-97.