Background: Allergic rhinitis (AR) and asthma are characterized by means of a similar inflammatory process in which eosinophils are important effector cells. The migration of eosinophils from the blood into the tissues is dependent on adhesion molecules.
Objective: To analyze the aspects of nasobronchial cross-talk, we studied the expression of adhesion molecules in nasal and bronchial mucosa after nasal allergen provocation (NP).
Methods: Nine nonasthmatic subjects with seasonal AR and 9 healthy control subjects underwent NP out of season. Bronchial and nasal biopsy specimens were taken before (T(0)) and 24 hours after NP (T(24)). Mucosal sections were analyzed for the presence of eosinophils, IL-5, eotaxin, intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1), E-selectin, and human endothelium (CD31).
Results: At T(24), an influx of eosinophils was detected in nasal epithelium (P =.01) and lamina propria (P <.01), as well as in bronchial epithelium (P =.05) and lamina propria (P <.05), of the patients with AR. At T(24), increased expression of ICAM-1, as well as increased percentages of ICAM-1+, VCAM-1+, and E-selectin+ vessels, were seen in nasal and bronchial tissue of patients with AR. The number of mucosal eosinophils correlated with the local expression of ICAM-1, E-selectin, and VCAM-1 in patients with AR.
Conclusion: This study shows that NP in patients with AR results in generalized airway inflammation through upregulation of adhesion molecules.