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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1994 Mar;93(3):635-43.

Lymphocyte infiltration and thickness of the nasal mucous membrane in perennial and seasonal allergic rhinitis.

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Department of Respiratory Medicine and Allergy, St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London, England.


We have used immunocytochemical techniques to study infiltration by lymphocytes in biopsy specimens of the nasal mucosal membrane in 24 atopic patients and 10 normal volunteers. Twelve patients had perennial rhinitis and 12 had seasonal allergic rhinitis (SR) to grass pollen. Biopsy specimens were taken both in and out of the pollen season in patients with SR. Biopsy specimens were strained with the indirect immunoperoxidase technique and monoclonal antibodies to CD3, CD4, CD8, CD22, and CD25. T helper cells (CD4+) and CD24+ cells were significantly more numerous in patients exposed to allergen (those with perennial rhinitis and SR in season) compared with normal volunteers, whereas values for SR out of season were intermediate. The thickness of the nasal epithelium was significantly (p < 0.05) greater in biopsy specimens from patients with perennial rhinitis (mean, 51.43 microns) than in those from patients with SR in season (median, 32.44 microns). These results suggest that in allergic rhinitis, natural exposure to allergen is accompanied by increased infiltration of the nasal mucous membrane by T-helper and CD25+ cells.

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