• cell adhesion;
  • ICAM-1;
  • soluble mediators;
  • cellular activation

Our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying the allergic reaction has increased rapidly and has revealed a complex network of cells, mediators and cytokines. The intercellular adhesion system (and the ICAM-1 molecule in particular) appeared to play a pivotal role in the accumulation of inflammatory cells at the site of allergic reaction. The new antihistamines have been demonstrated to be capable of affecting several phenomena of the allergic inflammation, including mediator release, cellular activation and adhesion molecule expression. Taking into consideration the central role of adhesion molecules, the modulation of their expression may represent an important therapeutic target. The nasal and the conjunctival challenges represent two useful models for the in vivo study of the antiallergic activity of drugs, as they allow investigation of a wide variety of parameters: inflammatory infiltrate, ICAM-1 expression, concentration of soluble mediators.