Changes in nasal metachromatic cells during allergen immunotherapy


Dr Hirokuni Otsuka, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Nippon Medical School, 1–1–5, Sendagi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan.


We have investigated changes of nasal metachromatic cell number, nasal symptoms and nasal provocation at the third and sixth month during allergen immunotherapy. Twenty-five subjects with perennial allergic rhinitis (house dust (23), Alternaria (2)) were divided into two groups: an immunotherapy-treated group (n= 14) and a control group (n=11). At the first visit nasal symptom scores, nasal provocation reactions and the number of metachromatic cells in nasal mucosal epithelial scrapings were not significantly different between groups. At the third and sixth month after immunotherapy nasal symptom scores, nasal provocation and the metachromatic cells in epithelial scrapings were significantly reduced (P < 0.05) compared with the pretreatment values in the immunotherapy group, but unchanged in the control group. These results suggest that the reduction in metachromatic cell number at the nasal mucosal surface may be one of the mechanisms which could explain the improvement of nasal allergic symptoms by immunotherapy.