Cantharidin blisters: a technique for investigating leukocyte trafficking and cytokine production at sites of inflammation in humans

Richard M. Day, Marcus Harbord, Alastair Forbes, Anthony W. Segal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


A skin blister technique is described which allows the investigation of acute inflammation in humans in vivo. Filter paper discs are placed on the skin, impregnated with cantharidin and covered with impermeable film held by adhesive tape. The assembly is easily applied, unobtrusive, stable and may be worn during normal activities. The blister formed at 24 h contains approximately 5x10(5)-5x10(6) cells, predominantly neutrophils and macrophages. Inflammatory cytokines and chemotactic factors are detectable in the blister fluid. The technique is useful for characterizing the acute inflammatory response in health and disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-220
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunological Methods
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2001


  • Blister
  • Body Fluids
  • Cantharidin
  • Cell Movement
  • Cytokines
  • Dermatitis, Contact
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Irritants
  • Leukocytes

Cite this