Background Allergic rhinitis (AR) is considered a major predisposing factor for the development of acute bacterial rhinosinusitis. How AR augments a bacterial infection is unknown.
Objective Our purpose in this study was to test whether an H1 receptor antagonist, desloratadine, could reduce the augmented effect of an ongoing allergic reaction on acute bacterial rhinosinusitis.
Methods Three groups of infected and ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized mice were studied: (1) infected and allergic mice treated with desloratadine, (2) infected and allergic mice treated with placebo, and (3) infected mice. A fourth group of uninfected, non-sensitized mice served as a control for the cellular changes. BALB/c mice were sensitized by two intraperitoneal injections of OVA given 8 days apart. One day after the second injection, the mice were nasally exposed daily to 6% OVA (the groups treated with desloratadine or placebo) or phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) (the infection-only group) for 5 days. After the second OVA exposure, the mice were intranasally inoculated with Streptococcus pneumoniae. Desloratadine or placebo was given daily throughout the OVA exposure period. Nasal allergic symptoms were observed by counting of nasal rubbing and sneezing for 10 min after OVA or PBS nasal challenge. On day 5 post-infection, nasal lavage culture was done, and the inflammatory cells in the sinuses were evaluated by flow cytometry.
Results Mice that were made allergic, infected, and treated with placebo showed more organisms and phagocytes than did only infect mice. They also manifested allergic nasal symptoms and eosinophil influx into the sinuses. Desloratadine treatment during allergen exposure reduced allergic symptoms and reduced sinonasal infection (P<0.05). There tended to be less myeloid cell and neutrophil influx (P=0.09 both), but not eosinophil influx (P=0.85) compared with that in the placebo-treated group.
Conclusion Desloratadine treatment during nasal challenge inhibited allergic symptoms and reduced sinonasal infection, suggesting that histamine via an H1 receptor plays a role in the augmented infection in mice with an ongoing allergic reaction.