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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1994 Feb;93(2):484-93.

The effect of immunotherapy on the cutaneous late phase response to antigen.

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Allergy-Immunology Department, Wilford Hall United States Air Force Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.



This study used the skin chamber model to evaluate prospectively the effect of immunotherapy (IT) on the cutaneous early and late phase response (LPR) to epicutaneous antigen challenge.


Nine subjects with allergic rhinitis were studied at three time points: before starting IT, after 3 months of IT, and after 6 months of IT. Skin chamber histamine content was measured hourly for 12 hours, and cell counts performed hourly during hours 6 to 12. An intradermal skin test was placed, and the reaction was measured hourly for 12 hours. Skin biopsy specimens were obtained 8 hours after intradermal placement and evaluated for cellular infiltrate and major basic protein deposition. Serum antigen-specific IgG and IgE levels were measured at each time point to confirm physiologic effect of IT.


Six months of IT significantly (p < 0.05) decreased both early and LPR skin test reactivity and skin chamber histamine for hours 1 to 3, 4 to 6, and 9 to 12. Skin chamber LPR cellular influx decreased significantly (p < 0.05) for neutrophils only. Decrease in LPR histamine after 6 months of IT was significantly correlated with both decrease in mononuclear cells (R2 = 0.817, p = 0.002) and decrease in neutrophils (R2 = 0.813, p = 0.009). Also significantly correlated were decrease in LPR skin test reactivity, with percent change in skin chamber mononuclear cells (R2 = 0.800, p = 0.009) and decrease in early skin test reactivity (R2 = 0.675, p = 0.01). Biopsy specimens showed no consistent change in either dermal cellular infiltrate or deposition of major basic protein.


IT significantly attenuates cutaneous histamine release and skin test reactivity and is accompanied by a decrease in skin chamber LPR neutrophil influx without significantly altering the dermal infiltrate at 8 hours.

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