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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2001 Nov;108(5):703-8.

Intranasal heparin reduces eosinophil recruitment after nasal allergen challenge in patients with allergic rhinitis.

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  • 1Institute of Respiratory Diseases, University of Catania, Italy.



Recently, several studies have shown that heparin possesses various anti-inflammatory and antiallergic properties. It has been proposed that heparin might play an important role in limiting the inflammatory events associated with asthma and allergic rhinitis by neutralizing inflammatory mediators, such as eosinophil cationic protein and major basic protein, and by limiting eosinophil recruitment.


To test the hypothesis that heparin can limit the extent and magnitude of eosinophilic inflammation, we examined the effect of inhaled intranasal heparin on nasal response to allergen challenge in 10 patients with allergic rhinitis.


The capacity of heparin to reduce nasal response was studied by evaluating symptom score, eosinophil cationic protein concentration, and eosinophil counts in nasal lavage fluids 10, 60, and 360 minutes after allergen challenge.


Pretreatment with intranasal heparin produced a significant reduction in symptom score 10 minutes after allergen challenge and reduced the eosinophil influx at each time point after antigen challenge, statistical significance being reached 60 and 360 minutes after allergen challenge. Similarly, the amount of eosinophil cationic protein in the nasal wash was reduced at each time point; this reached statistical significance 360 minutes after allergic challenge.


Heparin was shown to provide protection with respect to nasal allergen challenge. The mechanism by which heparin produces its protective activity seems to be related to the neutralization of eosinophil cationic protein as well as to the reduction of eosinophil recruitment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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