Background: Preclinical studies have demonstrated that some second-generation antihistamines have anti-inflammatory effects. It is not known whether these effects are also demonstrable in vivo. In this study we investigated the effect of treatment with desloratadine (DL) on systemic inflammation and on nasal and bronchial mucosal inflammation after nasal allergen provocation (NP) in subjects with grass-pollen-allergic rhinitis and asthma.
Methods: Twenty-six subjects with grass-pollen-allergic rhinitis and asthma were randomly allocated to 8 days of treatment with DL (n = 13) or placebo (n = 13) outside the grass pollen season. On day 7 they underwent nasal provocation with grass pollen allergen. Nasal and bronchial biopsies were taken for immunohistochemical evaluation, and blood samples were analysed. Rhinitis and asthma symptoms, peak nasal inspiratory flow and peak expiratory flow, were also measured at specified times.
Results: The number of circulating eosinophils decreased during DL treatment, and there was a reduced increase in circulating eosinophils after NP in these subjects. There was also a significant reduction in early bronchial clinical response. There was no significant lessening in the severity of the nasal symptoms. Nasal and bronchial mucosal inflammation parameters did not alter under DL treatment.
Conclusion: These data suggest that treatment with DL reduces systemic eosinophilia and prevents the increase in circulating eosinophils after NP. DL also significantly reduces the early bronchial clinical response to NP. However, airway mucosal inflammation is not altered by 1 week of treatment.