The local production and release of a number of cytokines regulate allergic upper airway inflammation. Medication is usually used at the presentation of the first symptoms. There are, however, clues that it is advisable to start taking the corticosteroid before the grass pollen season begins.
This single allergen provocation study was conducted in autumn, out of the hay fever season. Nasal mucosa biopsies were taken twice before provocation (before and after 4 weeks of preventive treatment) and three times after allergen provocation (1 h, 24 h and 1 week). The preventive treatment used was fluticasone propionate aqueous nasal spray (FPANS) (n = 10) or a placebo (n = 9). Eosinophils and mRNA positive cells (in situ hybridization for IL-2, IL-3, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-13, IFNγ, RANTES and TNFα) were counted in the biopsies.
Preventive treatment with FPANS out of season resulted in a decrease in eosinophils and mRNA positive cells for IL-5 and IL-6. After allergen provocation, levels of most of the measured cytokines (IL-3, IL-5, IL-6, IL-13, IFNγ, RANTES and TNFα) and eosinophils were reduced using corticosteroids. The numbers of cells (eosinophils, IL-3, IL-6 and IL-8) correlated with nasal symptoms. Significant correlations in the early and late allergic phase were found between eosinophils and cytokines (IL-3, IL-10 and IL-13).
These results indicate that preventive treatment with FPANS prior to contact with grass pollen is effective in reducing the increase of cytokine mRNA positive cells in reaction to grass pollen contact.