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Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2013;161(1):44-52. doi: 10.1159/000343289. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

Escin inhibits type I allergic dermatitis in a novel porcine model.

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Clinical Department for Farm Animals, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria.



Current standard medications for the treatment of allergic inflammation consist primarily of glucocorticoids and anti-histamines, but adverse side effects or insufficient responsiveness by patient subpopulations illustrate the need for safe and novel alternatives. Thus, there is a demand to develop a porcine model that is able to mimic mast cell-mediated type I hypersensitivity. Previously, we found that escin, a pharmacologically active mix of triterpene saponins from horse chestnut extracts, exerts anti-allergic effects in murine models and merits further investigation as an anti-allergic therapeutic.


We developed a new porcine model of allergic dermatitis based on a clinical prick test protocol. Histamine clearly provoked erythema and swelling at the prick site, whereas the mast cell-degranulating compound 48/80 even more pronounced caused wheal and flare reactions known from the human prick response. This model was used to test the anti-allergic efficacy of orally applied escin.


Oral pretreatment of animals with escin strongly inhibited the allergic skin response induced by compound 48/80 in a dose-dependent manner. Additional in vitro data from murine mast cells indicate an engagement of the glucocorticoid receptor pathway upon treatment with escin.


This model provides a valuable and easy-to-set-up tool for preclinical studies of mast cell-inhibiting compounds. The successful implementation of this model supports the development of oral escin applications as a novel anti-allergic therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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