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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1989 Nov;84(5 Pt 1):678-87.

The pattern and kinetics in human skin of erythema and mediators during the acute and late-phase response (LPR).

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.


To investigate the kinetics and pattern of allergenically induced mediator release in the human skin, we have studied 24 ragweed- and grass-allergic patients with a blister-chamber technique. Chambers sealed to the skin around a denuded area, formed by unroofing a blister, were challenged with 0.5 ml of either diluent or 10 or 100 times the concentration of allergen required for 4+ early intradermal reaction. Chamber fluids were removed hourly 1 to 8 hours after antigen challenge and examined for the presence of histamine, leukotriene C4 (LTC4), and prostaglandin D2 to compare inflammatory mediator levels with the clinical early response and late-phase response (LPR), as assessed by erythema around the chamber. An initial erythema developed rapidly and began to subside after 1 hour in all patients, but a late-phase local erythema and subcutaneous swelling around the chamber (i.e., greater than 2.5 cm, the outside diameter of the chamber) developed in 13/15 challenges only when the higher concentration of antigen was used. At both allergen concentrations, histamine levels peaked sharply at the first hour (20.6 +/- 2.3 ng/ml) and progressively declined during the next 4 hours by 75%, but remained above control levels for at least 7 hours. Despite high control values, LTC4 levels were significantly elevated (p less than 0.01) 4 to 6 hours after challenge. In visible reactions, maximal LPR around the chamber correlated with LTC4 levels obtained 6 and 7 hours after challenge (p less than 0.05). Prostaglandin D2 rose gradually in antigen-challenged chambers to a peak at 5 to 6 hours. Thus, early rises in histamine were temporally related to the immediate erythema, whereas the arachidonic acid metabolites from both cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase pathways that appeared in the skin after allergen challenge followed kinetics that corresponded to the time course of cutaneous LPR.

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