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Am Rev Respir Dis. 1993 Jan;147(1):160-3.

Heparin inhibits the immediate response to antigen in the skin and lungs of allergic subjects.

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Department of Respiratory and Intensive Care Medicine, Mater Adult Hospital, South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


Although heparin is used as an anticoagulant, its biologic function remains unclear. Substantial evidence exists that suggests it may modulate many aspects of immune function and inflammation. We demonstrated, in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study involving 10 allergic subjects, that a small dose of heparin (25 U/kg) administered intravenously 10 min before challenge reduced the acute cutaneous reaction to 10 allergens and histamine from a group-average sum of mean (+/- SD) wheal diameters at a baseline of 29.9 +/- 10 mm and after normal saline placebo (29.5 +/- 10.7 mm) to after heparin (14.4 +/- 10.4 mm) (p < 0.02, Wilcoxon's signed rank test). In 15 subjects with asthma and dust mite allergy, nebulized heparin 20,000 units administered in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover fashion 10 min before challenge inhibited the bronchospasm induced by inhaled dust mite extract. Log2 of the provocative dose of mite extract causing a 20% fall in FEV1 at baseline was 4.1 +/- 1.5 protein nitrogen units (PNU); after normal saline it was 4.5 +/- 2.0 PNU, and after heparin it was 5.1 +/- 2.5 PNU (p = 0.04). These data suggest heparin may have an inhibitory role in acute mast-cell-mediated allergic inflammation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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