Background Eotaxin is a chemokine that attracts and activates eosinophils. The present study examines the occurrence of eotaxin in nasal mucosal surface liquids in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis without allergen exposure and during repeat allergen challenge with and without topical glucocorticosteroid treatment. The number of subepithelial eosinophils and mucosal outputs of bulk plasma (α2-macroglobulin) and eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) are also examined.
Methods Twelve patients underwent daily allergen challenges for 6 days. Separately, 14 patients, who were receiving budesonide and placebo in a parallel group design, also underwent allergen challenge for 6 days. Nasal biopsies were obtained before and 24 h after the allergen challenge series, and lavages were carried out before and 15 min after selected allergen challenges.
Results At baseline nasal lavage fluid levels of eotaxin correlated to levels of α2-macroglobulin and ECP. After the first allergen challenge there was a correlation between nasal lavage fluid levels of eotaxin and ECP. Repeat allergen exposure increased the mucosal output of eotaxin (P <0.05) and ECP (P <0.01) as well as eosinophil numbers (P <0.01), but no correlation was found between increased eosinophil numbers and eotaxin. Budesonide reduced eotaxin levels during repeat allergen challenge (P <0.05).
Conclusions Repeat allergen exposure in allergic rhinitis is associated with increased mucosal output of eotaxin. Topical budesonide attenuates this effect, suggesting the possibility that inhibitory effects on mucosal eotaxin may contribute to anti-eosinophilic actions of topical glucocorticosteroids.