Background Enhanced skin mast cell releasability of histamine, increased production of histamine releasing factor (HRF), and cutaneous inflammatory process are the hallmarks of chronic idiopathic urticaria (CU). Although H1-antihistamines are known to alleviate the symptoms effectively in most cases, systemic corticosteroids (CS) are given in more resistant patients. Their mode of action remains a matter of controversy.
Objectives In the present study, the effects of a 7-day course of CS or placebo on histamine content and HRF production iti non-lesional skin of 19 CU patients were examined.
Methods Using the skin chamber technique, HRF production and histamine content were assessed in normal-appearing skin of patients with CU over a 2-h observation period. Those two parameters were measured before and after treatment, in a double-blind fashion.
Results No significant changes occurred in any parameters after placebo treatment. In contrast with this, significant decrease of HRF activity was observed after 1 week of oral methylprednisolone while no change was documented for histamine secretion. Conclusion These data suggest that CS therapy improves symptoms of CU in association with a decreased production of HRF in uninvolved skin.
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