Methods We have investigated the effects of allergen immunotherapy on the nasal responses in the guinea-pigs with allergic rhinitis. Thirty-three male Hartley guinea-pigs with allergic rhinitis were divided into three groups; those receiving intradermal injection of saline (Group 1) or 0.1% ovalbumin (Group 2) 6 days after the last intranasal sensitization, and those injected with 0.1% ovalbumin intradermally once daily for 6 consecutive days from the next day after the last intranasal sensitization (Group 3).
Results The dye leakage and histamine content into the nasal lavage significantly decreased at 30min after antigen challenge in Group 3, compared with Group 1 or 2. We also observed the change of mast cell numbers in superficial nasal mucosa, lamina propria and injected dorsal skin. The number of mast cells in superficial nasal mucosa significantly decreased in Group 3 compared with Group 1 or 2, but not those in nasal lamina propria or dorsal skin.
Conclusions These results suggest that the improvements of nasal responses such as dye leakage and histamine content may be caused by the decrease of mast cell numbers in the superficial mucosal layer after the specific immunotherapy. which may be developing tolerance and one of the mechanisms underlying the beneficial effect of immunotherapy.