Background: In mice, allergic rhinitis augments the infectious and inflammatory response to Streptococcus pneumoniae-induced sinusitis.
Objective: To investigate the effects of cysteinyl leukotriene antagonism on the severity of bacterial infection.
Methods: We performed 3 parallel, placebo-controlled experiments. In the first, mice were ovalbumin sensitized and ovalbumin challenged to show the effects of montelukast on the allergic inflammation; in the second, we evaluated the effect of montelukast on S. pneumoniae infection; in the third, we used mice that were both allergic and infected. Montelukast was given starting 2 days after sensitization until the day before euthanasia. One day after drug treatment began, the mice were inoculated intranasally with S. pneumoniae in the infected groups. Nasal hypersensitivity was measured with histamine challenges before the first sensitization and on the day before euthanasia. On the fifth day after infection, mice were euthanized, nasal lavage was performed, bacteria were cultured, and inflammatory cells in the sinuses were quantified.
Results: Mice that were infected only tended toward having increased bacterial counts from nasal lavage in the montelukast-treated group. The mice that were allergic and infected experienced significantly higher bacterial counts (P < .05). All 3 montelukast treatment groups had significantly decreased eosinophil counts as well as T-lymphocyte counts.
Conclusions: Montelukast reduces the manifestations of allergic rhinitis in mice. Surprisingly, montelukast led to an increase in bacterial growth in infected mice. This suggests an effect of the cysteinyl leukotrienes on the innate response to bacterial infection.