Effects of fexofenadine and other antihistamines on components of the allergic response: adhesion molecules

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Oct;112(4 Suppl):S78-82. doi: 10.1016/s0091-6749(03)01880-3.


Intercellular adhesion molecules (ICAMs), in particular ICAM-1, appear to play a crucial role in the recruitment and migration of inflammatory cells to the site of an allergic reaction. Glucocorticoids and allergen-specific immunotherapy have been shown to exert effects on selected components of this system, both in vitro and in vivo, but further research is required to better understand the effects of these therapies. Nasal and conjunctival challenge models (including natural and experimental allergen exposure) represent useful and safe tools for studying the activity of antiallergy drugs in vivo. These tests allow the investigation of a wide variety of parameters including inflammatory infiltrate, ICAM-1 expression, and changes in the concentration of soluble inflammatory mediators. With these tools, anti-inflammatory activity related to the modulation of epithelial cell adhesion molecules has been demonstrated in vivo for several H(1)-receptor antagonists (azelastine, cetirizine, loratadine, levocabastine, oxatomide, and terfenadine). Fexofenadine is a nonsedating, long-acting antihistamine with highly selective H(1)-receptor antagonist activity and a particularly favorable safety profile. In addition, fexofenadine has proven anti-inflammatory activity and has been shown to inhibit a number of mediators at clinically relevant concentrations, including in vitro inhibition of ICAM-1 expression on conjunctival and nasal epithelial cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Allergic Agents / immunology
  • Anti-Allergic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / classification
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / drug effects
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / physiology
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists / immunology
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / drug therapy*
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Leukocytes / drug effects
  • Leukocytes / immunology
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Mast Cells / drug effects
  • Mast Cells / immunology
  • Mast Cells / metabolism
  • Terfenadine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Terfenadine / immunology
  • Terfenadine / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Allergic Agents
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists
  • Terfenadine
  • fexofenadine