Eosinophil infiltration: effects of H1 antihistamines

J Am Acad Dermatol. 1991 Jun;24(6 Pt 2):1094-6. doi: 10.1016/0190-9622(91)70164-w.


This article reviews the contribution of cell-mediated inflammatory responses to the immediate immunoglobulin E-dependent allergic reaction. Apparently eosinophils play an important part in the pathogenesis of allergic reactions. Some new H1 antihistamines may also have non-H1-mediated antiinflammatory properties. In two double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover studies of allergic and normal subjects, we showed that oral cetirizine, at dosages of 10 and 20 mg/day, significantly inhibited wheal-and-erythema reactions induced by grass pollen, 48/80, histamine, platelet-activating factor acether, and N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine. In the first study, cutaneous eosinophil migration was significantly inhibited by cetirizine at pollen and 48/80 skin test sites (61%, p less than 0.01, and 53%, p less than 0.01, respectively), although no change was observed at histamine skin test sites. Inhibition of neutrophil accumulation was also observed at pollen and 48/80 sites (41%, p less than 0.1, and 31%, p less than 0.1, respectively). Monocyte accumulation was not affected by cetirizine. In the second study, cetirizine suppressed the eosinophil influx induced by pollen, platelet-activating factor, 400 ng, and platelet-activating factor, 40 ng (63%, p less than 0.001; 58.5%, p less than 0.001; and 57.8%, p less than 0.01, respectively). This inhibition was effective 2 hours after challenge and persisted through hours 4, 8, and 24. N-Formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine induced a weak eosinophil accumulation that was inhibited by cetirizine.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Eosinophils / drug effects
  • Eosinophils / physiology*
  • Histamine / immunology
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / pathology*
  • Pollen / immunology
  • Skin / pathology*
  • Skin Tests*
  • p-Methoxy-N-methylphenethylamine


  • Histamine H1 Antagonists
  • p-Methoxy-N-methylphenethylamine
  • Histamine