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Keywords:

  • allergen exposure unit;
  • Japanese cedar pollen;
  • OHIO Chamber;
  • tolerability

Summary

For basic and clinical studies of Japanese cedar (JC) pollinosis and its treatment, experimental facilities for exposure to pollen under stable environmental conditions are becoming increasingly desirable. We developed an artificial exposure chamber (OHIO Chamber) that allows the dispersal of fixed concentrations of JC pollen in stable environments with a unique pollen supply system, air flow system for fixing the concentration of JC pollen, system for monitoring the number of pollen grains, and automated pure water washing and drying system. In the chamber, temperature and relative humidity (RH) could be successfully maintained at 22±1.1 °C and 45±5%, respectively. The spatial distribution of pollen concentrations in the chamber was within 10% of target, including when subjects were present. Only a few or no pollen grains were detected in the chamber after automatic washing and drying. We conducted a pilot tolerability and safety study in 15 JC pollinosis patients who were exposed to 15 000 pollen grains/m3 for 2 h. Symptoms manifested on average 33 min after start of exposure. The subjects experienced no serious side-effects, and pollen exposure at 15 000 grains/m3 was confirmed safe. After exposure, the number of intranasal and intraocular pollen grains was 469 and 602, respectively. The lower number of pollen grains in the nose than in the eyes was considered due to sneezing and nasal discharge. Further studies are needed to clarify the number of pollen grains required for the occurrence of symptoms in the OHIO Chamber.