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Vol. 84, No. 2, 1987
Issue release date: 1987
Int Arch Allergy Immunol 1987;84:123–128

Nasal Mucosal Mast Cells and Histamine in Hay Fever

Effect of Topical Glucocorticoid Treatment

Pipkorn U. · Enerbäck L.
aDepartment of Pathology, Sahlgrenska Hospital, Gothenburg University, Göteborg, and bENT Department, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden

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Symptomatic seasonal allergic rhinitis has previously been found to be associated with a redistribution of mast cells from the subepithelial stroma to the epithelial lining and the surface of the nasal mucosa. The present study was designed in order to elucidate the interaction between topical glucocorticosteroids, effective in the treatment of allergic rhinitis, and the migration of mast cells described earlier. Six patients treated prophylactically in the nose with budesonide were studied. Imprints and biopsies from the nasal mucosa were taken 2–3 weeks before and 2–3 weeks into the birch pollen season. The biopsies were used for light microscopy and tissue histamine determination. The morphologic studies showed, also in the actively treated patients, an increased number of metachromatically stained cells on the nasal mucosal surface of the same order of magnitude as previously reported for untreated patients. We did, however, find a decrease in the histamine content of the nasal mucosa, which was not associated with a decrease in the number of mast cells. Together with similar previous findings in the unstimulated allergic nasal mucosa these results suggest that glucocorticosteroids induce a decrease in the mast cell histamine pool, possibly due to an inhibition of the intracellular synthesis of histamine. This effect might contribute to the clinically beneficial effect of topical glucocorticosteroids in the treatment of hay fever.

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