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Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2002 Jan-Apr;15(1):27-34.

Steroid and antihistamines modulate RANTES release in cultured peripheral blood mononuclear cells of atopic patients.

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  • 1Dept. Medicine and Science of Ageing, University of Chieti, School of Medicine, Chieti, Italy.


RANTES plays a crucial role in cell recruitment in allergic inflammation. We investigated the pharmacological modulation of RANTES release in cultured peripheral blood mononuclear cells obtained from allergic patients with active asthma. Chemokine production was assessed before and after 15 day treatment with histamine-1 receptor antagonists (antihistamines) (Loratadine or Cetirizine) and a steroid (Deflazacort), both in unstimulated and PHA-stimulated cell cultures. Results were compared with those obtained from placebo-treated patients. During the treatment period, patients recorded morning and evening peak expiratory flow (PEF) by the mini-Wright procedure. PEF absolute values and diurnal variability significantly improved respect to the pre-treatment in steroid-treated patients, in comparison to the placebo and antihistamine-treated groups (p<0.001 and 0.01, respectively). PEF diurnal variability in the antihistamine-treated group were lower than placebo-treated group without statistical significance (p=0.06). No differences could be found in RANTES levels in supernatants of all cultures between the two antihistamines. RANTES release significantly decreased in supernatants of all cell cultures from steroid (p<0.01) and antihistamine (p=0.03 and 0.04) groups after treatments, compared to the basal values; whereas it increased slightly in controls. Co-variance analysis on RANTES levels, adjusting for pre-treatment values, showed a significant reduction of RANTES release by PHA-stimulated PBMCs from steroid (p=0.003) and anti-histamine (p=0.03) groups, with respect to the placebo group. The same statistical tool applied between the steroid and the antihistamine groups showed, after therapy, the lowest levels of RANTES to be associated with steroid treatment (p=0.005). The study shows that the steroid is the most effective drug in modulating RANTES release from PBMCs. However, antihistamines, which are able to reduce cell recruitment due to chemokine release, avoiding important side effects, may be useful in long term therapy in controlling and preventing allergic inflammation.

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